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Drafting International Commercial Agreements in English Training Course

The complete guide to drafting and negotiating clear and concise commercial agreements in English. Presented by expert linguists with extensive experience in commercial law.

24-26 Mar 2021

& 16-18 Nov 2021

Book now


Course overview

Most international agreements are drafted in the English language irrespective of the nationality of contracting parties. Language errors in the text and unclear and inconcise phrasing cause confusion and can ultimately lead to a dispute if they go unnoticed. Gain a comprehensive understanding of the common pitfalls, key areas of risk and up-to-date drafting techniques in English to ensure you protect your organisation against unnecessary risk.

What are the objectives of this programme?

  1. Learn how to recognise drafting inaccuracies to effectively re-draft poorly written clauses
  2. Draft effective standard clauses that can be used across the organisation to manage exposure to legal risk
  3. Understand the principles of using plain English within your contract to reduce uncertainty
  4. Focus on agreement structure, linguistic clarity and accuracy to draft with confidence
  5. Discover how to avoid over complex sentences and structures to limit the risk of dispute
  6. Develop more effective legal writing skills that can be used in all your business communications

Who should attend?

  • Lawyers working in industry and government
  • Lawyers in banks and financial institutions
  • Lawyers in private practice
  • Lawyers and corporate executives involved in the drafting of contracts in English


Drafting contracts in clear English

  • How to structure clauses
  • Using the language of obligation and discretion accurately: shall, may and must
  • Avoiding old-fashioned language
  • Effective use of provisos and exceptions (eg ‘provided that’ and ‘notwithstanding’)

Structure and terminology of contracts

  • Applying the key elements, terms, phrases and structures
  • Preamble
  • Recitals
  • Performance related clauses
    • Force majeure
    • Liquidated damages
    • Governing law, etc
  • Boilerplate or standard clauses
    • Amendment
    • Assignment
    • Severability, etc

PRACTICAL EXERCISE: Drafting standard clauses in English

During this practical session, participants will apply the principles above to the redrafting of a range of clauses from international commercial agreements. Both individual and group work exercises will be undertaken with results reviewed in a group forum and constructive feedback and guidance supplied by the expert trainer.

PRACTICAL EXERCISE: Legal vocabulary

During this session, participants will work through exercises both individually and in groups to develop their knowledge of legal vocabulary.

Email and letter writing with precision and clarity

  • Different types of written communication and their appropriate use
  • Examples of standard opening and closing
  • Differences between semi-formal and informal register
  • Structuring a letter of advice
  • Differences between British and American English

PRACTICAL EXERCISE: Precision and clarity

The participants will apply the principles above by redrafting a badly written piece of legal correspondence.

Principles of proof reading legal documents

Participants will carry out exercises in which they have to identify and correct a series of errors in legal correspondence and memoranda including:

  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling

Contract drafting

Following a review of the principles of clear drafting taught during day one, the participants will develop these skills further by redrafting more complex clauses whilst making necessary amendments to protect the interests of one of the parties.

Legal vocabulary

There will be a series of exercises to develop the knowledge of the participants of legal vocabulary including the differences between British and American English.

Delegate contributions

All participants are invited to bring with them examples of their own work/contracts, edited to ensure confidentiality, for review by the expert trainer. Constructive feedback will be given in each case. (NB: Because of time constraints, it will not be possible to review entire agreements or extensive sections. Participants are requested to limit their contributions to selected clauses or short sections.)

Advanced drafting skills

Participants will be working in small teams to draft a number of clauses from scratch based on written instructions. The clauses will be taken from the following types of agreements:

  • Licence agreement
  • Distribution agreement
  • Share purchase agreement
  • Lease agreement
  • Employment agreement

Legal advice

Participants will also write letters of advice in relation to some of the clauses that they have redrafted during day one and day two.

The letters will seek to:

  • Summarise the clause
  • Point out to what extent the clause as currently drafted is not in the interests of their client
  • Explain how the clause should be amended


Exercises on the use of prepositions and countable nouns in a legal context.


Alan Simmons (More...)

Alan Simmons LLB (Hons) in Law with French LLM, RSA CETEFLA. Alan is a highly experienced trainer of legal English who has been working with international lawyers across the globe for over 20 years to enhance their skills at drafting concise and watertight clauses in the English language. He qualified as a solicitor in England and has passed the New York Bar with a view to becoming a US qualified lawyer. He studied law in the UK, Strasbourg and the European University in Florence and then went on to train as a solicitor in an international law firm and practised in commercial law in law firms in London. He has used this experience to successfully train legal staff from junior counsel to judges in all elements of international commercial law across the world. Alan is a dynamic trainer and applies a highly interactive style to ensure complete understanding and an enjoyable learning experience.

Book now

Book now

24-26 Mar 2021
Live webinar
24-26 Mar 2021
Live webinar
GBP 1,099 799
EUR 1,539 1,119
USD 1,714 1,246
Until 10 Feb*
Enrol now
to attend
Live webinar
16-18 Nov 2021
Face-to-face, (venue not yet confirmed)
16-18 Nov 2021
(venue not yet confirmed)
GBP 1,399 1,099
EUR 1,959 1,539
USD 2,182 1,714
Until 5 Oct*
Enrol now
to attend
(venue not yet confirmed)
  • 3 days of classroom-based training
  • Meet presenters and fellow attendees in person
  • Lunch and refreshments provided
  • Download documentation and certification of completion
  • Fair transfer and cancellation policy

Learn more about our face-to-face and webinar training formats.

* Note the early booking discount cannot be combined with any other offers or promotional code

Continuing professional development

This course qualifies for 18 hours for your CPD records.
More about CPD

Customised in-house training

We can customise this course to meet the requirements of your organisation and deliver it at your location and/or online.

Contact us

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Previous customers include...

  • AbbVie Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG
  • Admiral Markets AS
  • Akzo Nobel Nederland BV
  • Astellas Pharma Europe BV
  • DNDi
  • Eaton Industries GMBH
  • Etablissements Messie
  • EUSA Pharma (Europe) Limited
  • Glaxosmithkline BV
  • Haslinger/Nagele & Partner
  • Heerema Marine Contractors Nederland BV
  • JSC Polymetal Management
  • Maersk Oil Kazakhstan GmbH
  • Nagy Es Trocsanyi Ugyvedi Iroda
  • OMV Aktiengesellschaft
  • Papacharalambous & Angelides Law
  • Philips Electronics Nederland B.V., Phillips GSU /MBS NL3i
  • Sappi Fine Paper Europe SA
  • SOCAR Midstream Operations Limited
  • Syngenta Agro, SA
  • Synthes GmbH
  • TengizChevrOil LLP
  • Tirana International Airport SHPK
  • Turkcell AS
  • Tyco Group Sàrl
  • Wistrand Advokatbyrå KB
  • Zahir

The speaker was very professional and I particularly liked the usage of plain English for drafting commercial contracts.

Xaypaseuth Phomsoupha, Chief Contractual Consultant, Sivath & Associates Sole Co., Ltd, Nov 19

The course provides a clear and relevant overview of the most important lessons for drafting contracts and I received many practical and useful tips. Alan is very clear in his communications and is able to explain everything very well and keep the course interesting for the whole three days. The course definitely enables you to put the lessons learned into practice right away.

Raph Dijkstra, Junior Legal Counsel, Royal HaskoningDHV UK Lts, Nov 19

Very good speaker, friendly with a lot of knowledge and patience. Practical hands on course. Excellent.

Elsbeth Bertheux, Senior Legal Counsel, Interxion HeadQuarters BV, Mar 19

This was a great training. Thanks to the speaker's interactive approach you have the opportunity to learn a lot on contract drafting, legal vocabulary, punctuation and grammar. Finishing touch are the proverbs. The training is useful for non-native speakers. Tips and tricks are included in the training material.

Tinneke De Boeck, Paralegal, Terumo Europe NV, Mar 19

I really enjoyed the training and I learned a lot. More than I expected. The content was good. Good mix of language/grammar/spelling exercises and drafting exercises. Lots of opportunity to ask questions and to discuss plenary. Engaging speaker.

Marjon Vloedbeld, International Legal Counsel / Advocaat, Ranstad Holding nv, Mar 18

Alan Simmons is an excellent individual with amazing teaching skills.

Radhika Mahass, In Legal Training, Mar 18

I liked it. I will consider coming back for other courses conducted by Falconbury.

Hammad Al-Hammad, Legal Researcher, Saline Water Conversion Corp., Mar 18

The presentation was excellent and the content was interesting.

Sandrine Foster, Head of Purchasing Group / Contracts Officer, EUMETSAT, Mar 18

The speaker is really good.

Kadi Raudsepp, Legal Director, Admiral Markets AS, Nov 17

Mr Simmons is an expert in the topic and has great linguistic skills that are very helpful. He has a remarkable capacity to pass on his (considerable) knowledge in the clearest way and is very encouraging. The course was clear, dynamic and to the point. The best lecture I have attended.

Eliane Van Hoffelen, Mar 17

Very useful.

Rouda Bahzad, Legal Counsel, Qatar Foundation, Nov 16

Three intensive days, proactivity required (which is really appreciated) and an excellent teacher!


Excellent. I liked that we were well prepared by the speaker for all exercises. Alan gave us the e ssentials of grammar, vocabulary and punctuation in a shortened but accessible fashion. The training was interactive so it was easy to keep focus.

Anastasiia Bezulenko, Assistant Contracts Officer, Octagon Professionals, Mar 16

The course is very interactive and the speaker is good.

Pilar Riviere, IOC Television & Marketing Services SA, Mar 16

Clear, accurate and very skilled speaker.

Michela Carnini, Assistant Manager, Helsinn Healthcare SA, Nov 15