UCL Faculty of Laws


Online Course | Contract Drafting Skills Workshop

29 October 2024–30 October 2024, 9:45 am–1:00 pm

image: series of interlocking cogs in a golden colour

This 6-hour practical workshop is designed to help you improve your contract drafting skills. Click to view additional dates for Spring 2024

Event Information

Open to



UCL Laws Events


29 & 30 October 2024
20 & 21 January 2025 (Monday & Tuesday)
19 & 20 May 2025 (Monday & Tuesday)

Each day of the course runs from 09:45 - 13:00

About the course

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 Schedule

09:45 Introduction: Who are we writing for; their expectations; should we meet them?
10:00  Improving clarity (teaching and exercises)
[Comfort break around 10:30]
11:15 Improving accuracy (teaching and exercises)
[Comfort break around 11:45]
13:00 Day one ends

09:45 How the courts interpret contracts, including the “canons of construction”.
10.00 Using and avoiding legal jargon, and legal terms of art
[comfort break at around 11:00]
11.30 Improving consistency and being concise (teaching and exercises)
[comfort break at around 12:00
12.15 Putting it all together: identifying drafting problems (and solutions) in commonly-used template agreements
13:00 Course finishes

About the tutor

The course has been designed, and will be run, by Mark Anderson. His credentials are:

Solicitor: He is a practising solicitor, who is recommended in Chambers Directory for both life science transactions and IP. He is recommended in the international guide, IAM Patent 1000, as a leading UK lawyer in the field of IP licensing. His blog on IP contracts, IP Draughts, was made a member of the Blawg100 by the American Bar Association in 2012. He is a Certified Licensing Professional (a qualification established by the Licensing Executives Society (US and Canada)).

Author: He is the author or co-author of 7 practitioner texts on IP and contract drafting subjects, published by OUP, LexisNexis, Bloomsbury and Law Society Publishing. They include:

Technology Transfer (4th edn, Bloomsbury, 2020). ‘All practitioners who deal with technology transfer arrangements in England and Wales should own a copy of this work.’ (Journal of E-commerce, Technology and Communications)

Drafting and Negotiating Commercial Contracts (4th edn, Bloomsbury, 2015). ‘It is one of the best, if not the best, texts on the principles of commercial drafting… The material is extremely well written and accessible.’ (Student Law Journal).

Execution of Documents (3rd edn, Law Society, 2015). ‘This is, for a highly technical law book, a riveting read. Keep it on your shelves and you’ll be confident that you will have the answer to most issues about how to make a legal document work.’ (New Law Journal)

A-Z Guide to Boilerplate and Commercial Clauses (4th edn, Bloomsbury, 2017). ‘An extremely useful reference work, the book will be of great benefit to in-house counsel drafting commercial contracts’ (the In-House Lawyer). ‘[The book] is very useful and I hope that it will reach a wider audience.’ (His Honour Humphrey Lloyd QC, The International Construction Law Review).

Drafter: He and his colleagues have drafted hundreds of precedents for commercial contracts, which have been published by OUP, LexisNexis and others.

Trainer: He has run CPD courses on contract drafting subjects for the last 20 years, and is the course director of a 5-day course, Intellectual Property Transactions: Law and Practice, which is run by the Institute of Brands and Innovation Law at University College London


Standard Ticket = £600 (inc VAT)
IBIL Sponsor / UCL Alumni = £510 (inc VAT)

Book online at: https://online-contract-drafting-skills.eventbrite.co.uk

Course delivery

This course will delivered via Zoom. You will need to download Zoom to your computer or use the online version of Zoom. You will be sent the meeting id number and password on the Friday before your course.

Course materials will be delivered to you via a dedicated Sharepoint site for the course.

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

Book your place