UCL Faculty of Laws


Contract Drafting Skills Workshop

09 February 2021, 9:00 am–5:00 pm

image: series of interlocking cogs in a golden colour

A one-day CPD course

Event Information

Open to



Lisa Penfold


UCL Faculty of Laws
Bentham House
Endsleigh Gardens

Course dates:
Tuesday 9 February 2021
[online course 4th/5th August or 13/14 October]

Do you want your contract drafting to be clear, correct, concise and consistent? Do you want your contracts to be understood, and interpreted correctly, by multiple “stakeholders”, including project managers, business executives, lawyers and, if a dispute over the contract reaches court, a judge?

Course summary

This practical, one-day course is designed to help you improve your contract drafting skills. It combines teaching on modern drafting techniques with multiple, practical exercises to help you apply that teaching and improve your drafting. We provide a relaxed environment in which to look carefully at drafting issues, away from the pressure of negotiations.

If you are good at general business or legal writing, your skills will get you some of the way to drafting contracts well. But the mix of techniques used in good contract drafting is unique. We will discuss when to use and when to reject general writing techniques for contract drafting.

By looking at examples of good and bad contract wording, we will explore what works and what doesn’t, and how apparently satisfactory wording can be tweaked to remove ambiguities and uncertainties. In doing so, we will keep in mind the four Cs - four objectives that are sometimes underrated or overlooked: clarity, correctness (accuracy), conciseness and consistency.

We will also consider how the courts interpret contracts, but this won’t be the primary focus of the day. It is often better to draft clearly and in a way that avoids litigation, than to focus solely on how to “win” in court.

Please note: this is a course about learning and applying techniques to improve contract drafting. There is a greater emphasis on practice than theory. It is not focussed on any one practice area (though it will be informed by the course leader’s experience, over 30 years, of drafting commercial contracts where intellectual property issues are important). It is not designed to help you do a better commercial deal, outsmart an opponent, or persuade a court to uphold a one-sided clause (e.g. to make an extreme liability clause seem “reasonable” for the purposes of UCTA).

Benefits of attending this course

By attending this course you will:

  • Gain a better understanding of common drafting mistakes and pitfalls
  • Learn techniques for drafting clearer contracts
  • Practise your drafting skills by working on multiple, practical exercises
  • Receive feedback on how to improve your drafting

Feedback from recent course

  • "Multiple and helpful examples given from practice - helps bring theory to life"
  • "Very clear, friendly and approachable. Great personal examples and practical tips"
  • "Enjoyable Course. The time flew by. Interesting and Interactive"

Course content (timings are approximate)

9.30 Introduction: Who are we writing for; their expectations; should we meet them?
10.00 Improving clarity (teaching and exercises)
11.30 Coffee
11.45 Improving accuracy (teaching and exercises)
1.00 Lunch
2.00 How the courts interpret contracts, including the “canons of construction”.
2.45 Using and avoiding legal jargon, and legal terms of art
3.15 Tea
3.30 Improving consistency and being concise (teaching and exercises)
4.15 Putting it all together: identifying drafting problems (and solutions) in commonly-used template agreements
5.00 Finish

Course leader

Mark Anderson, the course leader, has trained lawyers, contract managers and others for over 20 years. His courses have won awards, including a Law Society Excellence Award (Highly Commended) and a Provost’s Teaching Award from University College London. He is an author of several popular textbooks in this field, some now in their 4th edition, as well as hundreds of published template agreements. His publications include:

  • Drafting and Negotiating Commercial Contracts (Bloomsbury, 4th edition, December 2016)
  • A-Z Guide to Boilerplate and Commercial Clauses (Bloomsbury, 4th edition, September 2017)
  • Execution of Documents (Law Society, 3rd edition, August 2015)


Early Bird fees are available until 21 days prior to the course start date.
Early Bird Standard = £510
Early Bird  Group Ticket / IBIL Sponsor / UCL alumni = £433.50

Standard fee = £600
Standard Group Ticket / IBIL Sponsor / UCL alumni = £510

Cancellation and Refunds

All cancellations and refund requests must be made in writing 10 full working days (Monday to Friday) prior to the start of the event to laws-events@ucl.ac.uk (or to the contact person for the event).

If the above notification period is not given, or in the event of non-attendance, then the following cancellation fee applies:
- £25 for a half-day workshop
- £50 for one day workshop

UCL Laws reserves the right to make changes to the programme, location and/or speakers without prior notice. Such alterations are occasionally necessary due to circumstances beyond our control.

During the event, please ensure that your attendance is noted each day to avoid being charged the cancellation fee - this will normally be by signing an attendance sheet at registration.

Refunds will be made to the payment method used for the original payment, ie if you paid via card you will receive your refund to your card, less any cancellations fees (if applicable).

In the event of non-attendance due to illness, a doctor’s certificate must be provided, otherwise the full cancellation fee will be charged. Individuals who withdraw after the start of an course will still be liable for the cancellation fee as outlined above.

Cancellation and non-attendance for paid events
An individual who has registered for an event who doesn't provide the required 10 working days notice and who fails to attend will NOT receive a refund. This is due to administrative, speaker and catering costs incurred by the department (and your place could have been allocated to another individual).

Attendees are welcome to send a substitute without incurring a charge, provided UCL Laws is notified in writing (laws-events@ucl.ac.uk or the event contact person) three full working days prior to the event.

Unforeseen circumstances
UCL Laws reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule an event due to unforeseen circumstances. In the unlikely event of cancellations, UCL Laws will refund the full amount of the registration fee (if applicable). However, personal expenses incurred by the attendee are non-refundable by UCL Laws.



If you have any queries about this course please contact Lisa Penfold at the UCL Faculty of Laws by emailing lisa.penfold@ucl.ac.uk


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