Legal texts - laws, contracts, etc - often contain passages that say something like, "You agree to waive your rights to blah except as prohibited by applicable laws or by the Whatshisface Amendment to the Something Act of 1985."

What is the point of explicitly calling out the Whatshisface Amendment when it is clearly redundant after "applicable laws"?

2 Answers 2


First, the clearly redundant phrase is “applicable laws” - these apply to everything.

Second, some acts, particularly consumer protection or sale of goods acts imply provisions into a contract, create obligations that sit beside the contract or create equitable remedies. Many of these can be limited or excluded but this needs to be done explicitly.

Third, in legal writing, clarity is preferred to brevity - nice if you can get both but if not, be clear rather than brief.

Fourth, the contract is not the document. The document is a record of the “meeting of the minds” that formed the contract. In the event of a dispute, it may be useful to know that particular laws were specifically considered by the parties.

Fifth, in legal writing, just as all writing, some people are better than others.


Some laws, especially those in consumer protection or privacy, require themselves to be explicitly mentioned whenever they are applicable to ensure the customer (and possibly the business) is explicitly aware of such laws.

  • Trying to find examples, but trawling through unfamiliar acts is a chore.
    – user4657
    Feb 6, 2018 at 18:53
  • 2
    Here's a possible example (that prompted this question): The Franken Amendment from the Defense Appropriations Act of 2010.
    – joshlf
    Feb 6, 2018 at 19:05

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