Bitcoin and Blue Pencil Rule



An excellent article in the Solicitors Journal on 25 November 2014 ( called “Getting your head around Bitcoin” is well worth a read.

Bitcoin allows money to be sent as data/information with no third party involvement.

It is therefore different from Paypal or e money.  There is no authority, or third-party between the sender and recipient.

There are obviously huge regulatory and other concerns, but the concept is massive and growing.

Bitcoin can be used as a currency or for savings.

Any small or medium sized business must get to grips with Bitcoin urgently.  This is particularly in London where it is already playing an increasing role in financial services.

Money laundering and counterfeit protection have to be mastered and it would be worthwhile putting out a Google alert for Bitcoin press releases from FCA and the Government.

If you are involved in or affected by Bitcoin you should take early expert legal advice

Blue Pencil Rule

Where a contract makes no sense a Judge has discretion to delete and change the void or illegal clause and put in wording that the parties should have actually used.

This is called the “blue pencil rule”.  A case worth looking at is Phrophet plc v Huggett (2014) EWCA CIV1013, where the Judge decided that the lawyer who drafted the contract had not written down the parties’ intentions, and so instead the Judge substituted wording that should have been used.

These cases can be go way and can be very uncertain and therefore expert legal advice should be taken in drafting a commercial contract, particularly one involving restrictive covenants preventing non-competition of employees who are leaving.

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