Referencing of Clauses in Correspondence and Claims

One of our distance learning students recently asked for advice on how to correctly refer, or make reference, to contract clauses when preparing a claim. Although this is a fairly minor point, referencing in claim documents is something that is often done badly. In turn, this can make the reader’s understanding more difficult – but if done well, can help with a successful claim.

If you wish to refer to a sub-clause in a narrative or correspondence, I prefer to see it in the following format:

  • For major clauses: ‘Clause 13 (Variations and Adjustments)’
  •  For sub-clauses: ‘Sub-Clause 13.3 (Variation Procedure)

A common failing when writing letters or claims is to just refer to the sub-clause number without the title. This makes it difficult for a reviewer, who is not familiar with the contract, to understand without constantly having to refer to the contract itself. Remember that a key point to claim or response writing is to make the reviewer’s job as easy and pleasant as possible and to help him or her understand the points being made.


Attention to detail when writing claims and responses is important because it demonstrates the professionalism of the person and the company who prepared the document. This, in turn, helps to persuade a reviewer that the document contains a good case.

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