DRAFTING AND REVIEWING LEGAL DOCUMENTS

Category: Legal Services
Written by David J. O. Tuhusula on 31/08/2022
The author’s views are entirely their own and may not always reflect the views of Putranto Alliance.

Sometimes arguments cannot always be expressed verbally but rather through writing. The importance of manifesting a well-thought and error-free law document helps clients prevail in their cases. As such, being aware of the know-how to make it and the know-how to review it became an essential ability for legal professions while also serving as important knowledge for the layman.

This article elaborates on the importance of legal drafting and review and its impact.

WHAT IS DRAFTING AND REVIEWING LEGAL DOCUMENTS?

In law terms, a legal document would refer to a document with the capability to present, transfer, limit, charge, or terminate a right, a title, or an interest in the property (whether movable or immovable). A legal document could also refer to a letter indicating that a legal proceeding can and may be brought against the person to whom it’s addressed or any other person who violates certain rules.

Drafting a legal document means producing a concrete and concise document to achieve a particular legal purpose. Whereas reviewing a legal document would refer to receiving, reading, and analyzing a legal document to understand the issues in a case better, so later they can then identify the key points of what’s meant to be conveyed within the presented document.

Depending on the entity that produced the legal document, the subject that the legal document is being addressed, and what kind of case is currently ongoing, it can be said that no legal documents are the same one and the other. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF DRAFTING AND REVIEWING LEGAL DOCUMENTS

Being able to convey information properly is one of the most critical points in communication, especially when handling legal matters. A concrete and concise document would be able to clearly express its goal and acquaint the party involved with its intention.

A legal document, on the whole, intends to inform and engage both the client, the opposing party, and even the court regarding the concerned legal issue. Hence, it becomes crucial for the legal document to contain all the necessary facts and be armed with precision so that the goal of the legal document is clear and easy to understand. Because the client is also not always someone with law knowledge, paying attention that the document’s content does not contain too many complicated phrases so that the client may understand it just as much as the attorney is also important.

In certain situations, a legal document may also contain feedback from the client and/or the court. As such, it is important to review the document to improve what the previous legal document (if any) lacks. Dispelling the client’s doubt by ensuring they understand what’s being conveyed through the legal document is an important step in aiding the client to prevail in their case. When the opposing party requests relevant documents, there are legal obligations that must be met by attorneys (especially in litigation cases). Reviewing them in a quick and timely manner would be the most optimal to prevent any setbacks from happening.

Furthermore, researching to assist in constructing the legal document also becomes a point that must be considered because one legal issue is not always the same as the other. Adjustments must be made because, most of the time, legal documents are written to fit the case or purpose. Thus it can be considered to be on a case-by-case basis.

Even so, why is legal document review important? The reason may vary because, as mentioned before, it can be considered case-by-case. For example, one may be requested to produce financial records before a trial. For another example, the client needs to review a contract or agreement to ensure that it’s legally binding and accurate while also subject to the current governing law. No matter the reason, having a legal document reviewed is a surefire way to reduce the chance of encountering any unforeseen matters during legal proceedings.

WHAT TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHEN DRAFTING AND REVIEWING LEGAL DOCUMENTS?

Several key points must be paid attention to when it comes to drafting a legal document, such as:

  1. Objective

    What kind of goal would one like to be achieved? How can it be poured into the document? Choosing the right words, the right facts, and the right laws (this is especially important to strengthen the arguments further) is just as important as avoiding sounding too confrontational while also avoiding using unnecessarily complicated phrases and jargon. If it’s too hard to understand for someone with a legal profession, it’d be incomprehensible for a non-specialist. In short, the purpose of a legal document must be clear and straightforward to understand.

  2. Framework

    How does the overall conceptual structure of the document work? Can it be divided into parts to make it easier to understand? Can it further be divided into subparts or sections to assist with ease of reading? What can be conveyed through the writing in the document?

  3. Order

    Since the primary purpose of writing is to communicate, which is making a point (or points) in a document easy to digest and understand, it’s vital to present it in a logical order. The proper flow of information relies on whether it answers the question posed or not. Hence it’s also important to note that presenting an answer first followed by an explanation would be the most optimal.

Conversely, several key points must be paid attention to when it comes to reviewing a legal document, such as:

  1. Relevance

    Is the information contained within the legal document relevant to the issue that’s being handled at the moment? Does the legal document contain the necessary information to produce a well-thought and error-free response? If the content of the legal document is irrelevant to the issue currently being handled, then it has a low priority to be conveyed to the opposing parties.

  2. Responsiveness

    Does the legal document’s information respond to the inquiries posed by the opposing parties or the regulatory bodies? If the answer is yes, then to which inquiry does the information respond?

  3. Privilege

    Is the information contained within the legal document proven to be exclusive to only the client and the attorney? Or maybe the information is, by nature, subject to the rule of privacy and/or confidentiality? If such is the case, it should be withheld from being poured into the legal documents.

  4. Confidentiality

    If the information within the legal document is classified as confidential, it must be excluded by nature. For example, suppose the information within the legal document contains a trade secret (such as how to manufacture a specific product). In that case, it must be prevented from being presented to the opposing parties. However, this can also be negotiated with the client, in the sense that after discussion with the client, the client decides whether the information can be partially redacted or should be excluded as a whole to protect confidentiality.

TYPES OF LEGAL DOCUMENTS WE HANDLE

With their vast experience, our advisors are well-versed in handling legal documents, most common being contracts and agreements. Other legal documents that our advisors are experienced in include notarial deeds, compliance reports, litigation documents, letters of demand, installment notes, legal releases, letters of intent, and many others.

Equipped with no shortage of knowledge and competencies, we are ready to assist you in reaching your long-term goal and carefully crafted business plans to achieve the best growth in business.

 

HOW CAN WE HELP

Our experienced advisors are well-versed in drafting and reviewing legal documents so that the involved parties can avoid both legal and/or financial consequences that may prove fatal in the future. From doing legal research, analyzing documents, and participating in any possible confrontational situations, we go above and beyond to assist in drafting and reviewing legal documents to achieve the best possible terms for each party involved.

REFERENCES

FAQs

A document can be classified as having a legal effect (or legally binding) if it contains an agreement between 2 (or more) parties.

The kind of object(s) being agreed upon by the parties is, relatively speaking, left to each party’s judgment. However, it can be accepted and considered legally binding if the agreement between the parties is done freely (none of the parties being pressured to agree, internally and/or externally) and the agreement was done with good intentions (no fraudulent behavior).

There are no legal requirements that a legal document must be drafted/produced by a licensed legal professional.

Usually, the most optimal is for the person with interest to decide for themselves which contract best suits their needs and to decide what information to provide on the various inquiries while preparing their document. A licensed legal professional can later check this information (or document should they prepare it themselves) for clarity (or later be authorized, signed, and sealed, should it take the form of a deed).

If the legal document takes the form of a deed, it should be taken to a Public Notary.

Joint liability is a form of liability designation where all liable parties are equally and personally liable for the obligations of judgment, loan, debt, or any other kind of liabilities. It means that should one party become unable to pay their portion of the obligation. The other liable party is responsible for that portion and their own portion.

Conversely, severally liable means that each party involved is only responsible for their respective portion of the obligation.

In joint and several liabilities, an obligation may be pursued against any one party as if they were jointly liable. It becomes the defendants’ responsibility to sort out their respective proportions of liability and payment.

In legal documents, especially ones containing agreements, there would be many mentions that the parties would obey ‘the governing law’ should a dispute happen.

This phrase, in particular, would translate that the legal document is governed by the existing law where the parties’ actions are performed. For example, if the agreement were made in Indonesia, then it would be governed by the existing laws in Indonesia.

Most documents and contracts do NOT require a witness to be legally valid. However, some documents, such as a Will or a deed, can have regulated requirements related to witnesses.

Additionally, some institutions may also have their policies about signing requirements and may refuse to accept documents that are not notarized regardless of their legal sufficiency.

Generally speaking, parties allowed to be the witnesses of a legal document should have no financial or other interest in the content of the legal document, meaning that a neutral third party would be the best choice.

A neutral third party means that they have no interest and do not benefit from the content of the legal document. 

The ‘best’ way is rather abstract, relying entirely on the parties’ preferences. However, strictly speaking for Indonesia, generally, when a dispute happens, then it would be proposed for a mediation to be held first.

The purpose of mediation is to find out the opposing party’s views to achieve the possibility of joint dispute resolution and seek the best solution that is acceptable to both parties. The party who helps mediate a dispute is the mediator.

If mediation has been held, but the parties have yet to reach an agreement closure, then the dispute continues to the court.

Thank you for sharing

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