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Documents drafted by the other side

Quite often, the tribunal will instruct the parties to produce an agreed document – a chronology or a list of issues are the most common. This means that one party will come up with a first draft for the other to comment on, and then there will be a certain amount of to-and-fro until they have an agreed draft.

There two main points about this process:

1. If you do the first draft, make it genuinely neutral. Don’t try to slip in your own spin or slant: this is not the moment to try to pull a fast one or score a tactical advantage, and the attempt will just waste time and cause unnecessary friction.

2. When commenting on a draft produced the other side, don’t make unnecessary changes. So if your normal habit is to write dates in the form ‘7 Jan 09’ and the draft you are offered uses ‘7/1/09,’ leave it be. Don’t make any change that increases the length of the document unless it also makes it clearer or adds necessary extra content.

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