The Supplier shall provide the following services to the Customer: [Drafting note: Insert concise and precise description of the services to be provided under the contract, avoiding unnecessary detail. Only include obligations directly relevant to the performance of the services. For example:] Advice and assistance to the Customer on [commercial/corporate/employment/property] matters as requested from time to time. The Supplier shall provide the requested advice and assistance promptly and in accordance with the professional standards expected of a solicitor. The Supplier shall not be obliged to provide any services to the Customer other than as expressly set out in this clause.
Here is a plain English explanation of the Services clause:
- This clause describes the services the Supplier will provide to the Customer.
- It should briefly state the services to be provided in clear and precise wording.
- Unnecessary detail should be avoided, only key obligations relevant to performing the services should be included.
- In this example, the Supplier will provide advice and assistance to the Customer on certain legal matters when the Customer requests it.
- The Supplier must deliver this advice promptly and professionally, meeting the standards expected of a solicitor.
- But the Supplier only has to provide the services expressly described in the clause.
- The Supplier does not have to provide any other services not specifically listed.
The purpose is to clearly define the services the Customer can expect to receive from the Supplier under the contract.
Service description clauses originated in the 19th century as contracts evolved from informal agreements to precise legal documents.
Early service contracts tended to vaguely define obligations, using broad terminology like "workmanlike manner."
By the late 1800s, comprehensiveness became valued in contract drafting. More detailed service descriptions aimed to prevent misunderstandings through specificity. However, these complex provisions also created interpretive difficulties.
In the 20th century, clarity and concision in drafting became best practices. Leading authorities like the Plain English Movement advocated simplifying inflated legalese. Precision in service clauses was maintained while avoiding extraneous minutiae.
Today, service description clauses balance comprehensiveness with brevity. Key obligations are stated clearly without over-prescription. Ambiguous or esoteric phrasing is disfavored. Adopting a "less is more" approach focuses the terms on the essence of the services.
The evolution towards lean drafting has increased enforceability of service clauses.
As contracts become more accessible to laypeople, gaps and uncertainties in service provisions are reduced. Advancements refine description clauses to benefit all contracting parties.