This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Which Liquidated Damages Clause Is Clearer?

Question from Ishi, Which Liquidated Damages Clause Is Clearer?

Answer from AI:

When drafting or reviewing a contract, clarity is key, especially when it comes to terms that could lead to financial penalties, such as liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are a predetermined amount of money that a party agrees to pay if they breach the contract. This concept is widely accepted in various jurisdictions, but the specific enforceability and requirements can vary. Let’s examine the two clauses provided to determine which one offers more clarity and is more appropriate in legal terms.

Analysis of the Clauses

1. “The maximum amount of liquidated damages for the whole contract is 10% of the contract price.”
2. “The maximum amount of liquidated damages is 10% of the whole contract price.”

At first glance, both clauses seem to convey a similar message: the liquidated damages cannot exceed 10% of the total contract price. However, the clarity and appropriateness of legal terms can significantly impact the enforceability and interpretation of the clause.

Clarity and Appropriateness

The second clause, “The maximum amount of liquidated damages is 10% of the whole contract price,” is clearer and more appropriate in legal terms for several reasons:

  • Precision of Language: The phrase “10% of the whole contract price” directly links the percentage to the contract price, making it immediately clear that the calculation is based on the total value of the contract. This precision helps avoid ambiguity.
  • Legal Interpretation: Legal professionals often prefer terms that are widely understood and leave little room for interpretation. The second clause’s structure is commonly used in legal documents, making it easier for courts and arbitrators to interpret.

Potential Ambiguity in the First Clause

The first clause, “The maximum amount of liquidated damages for the whole contract is 10% of the contract price,” could be interpreted as slightly ambiguous due to its phrasing. The phrase “for the whole contract” might introduce unnecessary complexity or confusion about whether there are other considerations or calculations involved beyond the contract price.


While both clauses aim to set a cap on liquidated damages, the second clause does so with greater clarity and is more in line with standard legal drafting practices. It is always advisable to consult with a legal professional to ensure that contract terms are clear, enforceable, and reflect the parties’ intentions. Legal professionals can provide tailored advice and help draft or review contracts to avoid potential disputes.

For more information on drafting contracts and understanding liquidated damages, you might find resources like the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section helpful.

Remember, the enforceability of liquidated damages clauses can vary by jurisdiction, and specific legal advice should be sought to address your particular situation.

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