Challenging stage

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The JC gets all figurative


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A stage in the sublimely great space invaders game Galaga in which you have a free shot at all the invaders and they don’t shoot back.

A cynic would say this describes a plausible career strategy for many legal eagles. Find something so tiresome, theoretically necessary but practically inconsequential that no one can begrudge you from taking a pen to it — oh, make no mistake, they can resent you for it; they just can’t blame you — and then you may embellish your little heart away, harming no-one, impacting no-one, just earning the silent reproach of anyone with a care for the language you are butchering.

A force majeure clause is the most celebrated example of this opportunity. Especially since covid you can gravely waggle your head and say, “well, you just can never be too sure, as we all now know.

Just every now and then a nest-feathering legal eagle gets caught in a cross-fire hurricane, and their syntactical pettifoggery catches the public imagination. This happened to whomsoever it was who drafted AstraZeneca’s contract to provide, ironically enough, Covid vaccines to the European Union, who was unwise enough the craft the expression “best reasonable efforts”, which in ordinary legal parlance is a complete contradiction in terms.

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