We live in both interesting and confusing times.

Right now, I am not sure what the date is, and that has nothing to do with my alcohol consumption, although I have just enjoyed a very nice glass of wine over lunch with some wonderful clients.

My confusion, however, stems not from the drink, but from the contradictory information I’m being sent.

This morning, I had a text message from BA inviting me to go to their website to look at last minute bookings for my late summer holiday get away – ok, so it’s still summer.  Good to know.

This afternoon I’ve had an invitation to my first Christmas party, which is being held next month.  Ok, so it’s nearly Christmas.

I know that time flies when you’re having fun (and I’m always having fun) but even I know that it cannot be simultaneously both summer and the run up to Christmas.

Obviously I understand that these are just marketing ploys utilised by people trying to attract your attention and perhaps stand out from the millions of texts and emails we all receive trying to sell us various goods and services.  Equally obviously, I don’t take any of it too seriously.

On the other hand, if I’m reviewing a contract, terms such as Christmas holidays or the summer season must be very clearly defined.  When you look at an employment contract, it might provide that the business will be closed over the Christmas period and so the employee must take some of their holiday entitlement at that time.  Therefore, defining exactly what the Christmas period is becomes essential.  Equally, where I have been advising clients who run seasonal businesses, such as holiday lets, when the rents might change at certain times of the year, clearly defining when the peak season starts and ends is important, and simply saying “the summer season” would not be sufficient.

You may read this and think that it’s all very clear, and of course you are right. The difficulty comes when contracts are prepared by people who don’t have the experience to understand the importance of clarifying their terms, and signed by people who trust the drafters to do a good job.  When it comes to litigation, and disputes over what people meant, it could give me an opportunity to make lots of money, but in reality it’s rarely cost effective to sue over contracts that are relatively small value.  So, often, both sides walk away dissatisfied, in circumstances where neither actually meant to mislead the other.

So before I rush off on my late summer Christmas holiday, please remember to get your contracts and terms of business reviewed by a professional.  You may think it’s expensive, but it will be a lot cheaper than if it goes wrong.  If that is something I can help you with, book a catch up with me asap and I’ll show you my summer tan and the pictures of my snowman.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Happy Easter!