Why You Spell Out Amounts in Agreement

Since I try to avoid legalese where ever possible and eliminate as much unnecessary verbiage from agreements I prepare, I frequently look at the spelling out of dollar amounts, followed by the numerical sum in parentheses, “ten thousand dollars, ($10,000.00), and wonder if we couldn’t just eliminate one of those.

But then I see a story like,  JPMorgan Sued by Trader Over $3 Million Decimal Point, where there is a difference of opinion as to whether an investment banker was hired for a salary of 2.4 million rand as JP Morgan argues, or 24 million rand, as apparently the contract actually reads.

Since that’s almost a million dollars difference ($920,000 according to the Bloomberg article) it seems likely that the banker might have known it was the lower figure, but to see who prevails we will have to wait and see how the British court rules.

One thing however, the next time I consider dropping the writing out of the amount in question, followed by a parenthetical re-stating of the amount; I will certainly give even less thought to dropping one or the other than I have in the past.


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