Words in contracts can have specific legal meaning which may be different to the meaning of the word when used in everyday language.

The most common example is the term ‘best endeavours’. Have you said to someone ‘I’ll try my best’, what did you mean by this, how far would you go? It probably wouldn’t come close to the contractual requirement of using your best endeavours.

Best endeavours imposes the most onerous obligations which can include: Taking all steps available to you in order to achieve the desired result & if necessary, incurring a degree of expense (but not that it causes you financial ruin).

In contractual terms ‘reasonable endeavours’ would come closest to what you meant. This normally requires you to put in considerable effort, but not to the point where it damages you commercially.

Words can also have meaning to you but no definitive contractual definition. Practical completion for example – you may think you know what it is, but this doesn’t have a defined contractual definition only guidance. Guidance creates potential dispute, avoid this by including a definition in the contract.

You must understand the legal definition of words if you are to properly review & mitigate contractual risk.