Myth of Self-Deleting FAR Clauses:

Have you ever heard of the SELF-DELETING clause? Sounds magical. Mystical. Mysterious.

There is no such thing as a self-deleting clause

Did you notice how I said some dirty tricks come about from ignorance or incompetence? The infamous myth of the “self-deleting clause” is a prominent example.

There is no such thing as a self-deleting clause. Be very careful with any “professionals” who talk about self-deleting clauses.

The erroneous theory behind this canard is that if any clause is inappropriate for the contract, it is somehow “self-deleting” automatically. Therefore, you need not worry about the clause being written into the contract you have read and signed. This is an absurd idea.

Clauses do not self-delete

Clauses do not automatically disappear. Are these clauses written with disappearing ink from a child’s magic store? No. Does the page of the contract that contains the clause automatically self-destruct after 24 hours, like some James Bond movie? No. The clause remains in your contract for one and all to read.

After litigation, some clauses might be found by a judge to be unenforceable, illegal, or otherwise rendered inoperative. But to rely on the nonexistent legal principle of “self-deleting” clauses during negotiations is the unmistakable mark of an amateur.

Negotiate to delete any clause that does not belong in your contract

If you see a clause that does not belong in your contract, negotiate to delete that clause. Do not accept an explanation of how the clause self-deletes. If the clause is supposedly self-deleting anyway, why should your negotiation partner care if you delete it? Negotiate to delete the clause.

You just read a free excerpt from Government Contracts in Plain English: and Federal Acquisition Regulation in Plain English:

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