Waiver

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The Jolly Contrarian’s Dictionary

The snippy guide to financial services lingo.™

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Waiver /ˈweɪvə/ (n.)
A topic that can give a common lawyer hives and an under-confident credit officer an entire psychiatric episode. So much so that it once lead to a no waiver clause, and legal eagles and credit officers liked it so much it became part of the legal furniture of almost every commercial agreement. You even see this boilerplate in confidentiality agreements for heaven’s sake.

Our legal friends are liable to spout much paranoid nonsense about waivers — some of it will trampling upon the very founding principles of the law they learned at their first-year contract law tutor’s breast — if the proposition is advanced that “we have a right, but we didn’t use it, and now we might have lost it”.

Lost it? Forever? Can a contractual right, unexercised, really just evaporate from the page while counsel wring their hands, like so much dew in the morning sun, or that alcoholic gel you find in the public conveniences of officious yet parsimonious organisations?

Your contractual rights are a not quite that ephemeral — at least not under English law. (Americans might like to check our page on course of dealing however). You don’t lose them just because you don’t exercise them.

There are two kinds of waiver: waiver by election and waiver by estoppel.

See also