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The Jolly Contrarian’s Dictionary

The snippy guide to financial services lingo.™


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Deliver /dɪˈlɪvə/ (v.)

1. Of a thing, such as a letter, to take it to an appointed address.
2. (Law): Of a deed, having signed it, to give a signed copy, bodily, to the other parties to it. Delivery is part of the formal execution process, without which the deed is not yet a “thing”. Hence, in the words of that great chancery lawyer Stevie Wonder, “signed, sealed, delivered — I’m yours.” Question; Does a deed poll also have to be delivered to be valid?
3. (Management speak) A voguish way of saying “give” or “do”.
4. (Tiresome) To bowl a cricket ball at a wicket.
5. (Thought leadership) of legal services, to present them to a client. (see: legal services delivery)

Delivery of notices in a time of cholera

The Cambridge Dictionary says that to “deliver” is “to take goods, letters, parcels, etc. to people’s houses or places of work”.[1]

Merriam Webster says it means “to take and hand over to or leave for another”.[2]

The Collins Dictionary of British English, in a rather modishly modern English format, tells us “If you deliver something somewhere, you take it there”.[3]

A bit more challengingly, the Lexico Oxford Dictionary says it means “bring and hand over (a letter, parcel, or goods) to the proper recipient or address”. Oxford’s language suggests a “handing” from sender to recipient, though a commonsense application of delivery through a letterbox to an address says the only “hands” involved are the sender’s.

An agent for the recipient does not need to be there; just that the notice is conveyed to the appointed place. It is no good refusing to answer the door, hiding behind the sofa or blocking up your letterbox with Araldite: if the sender’s agent brings a notice to your designated address, even by regular post, the sender has “delivered” it.

If it is, literally, impossible to arrange even an agent to hand-deliver a package, what then? Before the spring of 2020, most learned commentators would have regarded such a scenario as so absurd as to not dignify an answer. By April, ISDA was seeking advice about it.

See also