Legal Question in Business Law in California

Acceptable font size

What is the smallest acceptable font size for a printed contract to be valid, either in California or elsewhere? At one point, I understood it to be 8 pt, but a very reputable printer tells us it is 6 pt. Which is it?

Asked on 6/11/03, 2:22 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Roy Hoffman Law Offices of Roy A. Hoffman

Re: Acceptable font size

It really depends upon what the subject matter of the contract is. Generally, if you can read the contract and the contract otherwise meets the requirements to be considered a contract any font size is acceptable. However, in certain circumstances, there are requirements which require certain provisions to be at least 10 point and in some cases bolded.

Without more information on the type of contract you are talking about, it is almost impossible to adequately answer your question.

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Answered on 6/11/03, 2:40 pm

Ken Koenen Koenen & Tokunaga, P.C.

Re: Acceptable font size

There are different font size requirements for different things. For example, arbitration clauses must be a specific size, according to statute.

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Answered on 6/11/03, 2:41 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: Acceptable font size

Your question suggests that you are in the process of having a "standardized" or "form" contract printed for use in repetitive, similar transactions with different customers (or tenants?).

If so, in addition to the requirement of general legibility and the specific requirements that certain provision (if used) must be in larger and/or boldface print, you should be aware that such "form" contracts are often considered "contracts of adhesion" which means, essentially, that they are presented by the seller, landlord or lessor to the buyer, tenant or renter with an implied "take it or leave it," and no real negotiation takes place, and nobody really expects the buyer, tenant or renter to read the fine print. Contracts of adhesion are interpreted differently by the courts in California. To the extent they are fair and reasonable, they are generally enforced according to their terms. However, if they contain unfair or "surprise" conditions, courts will often tone down or even strike out the unfair provisions.

Among the provisions that often must be in larger print, all capitals and/or boldfaced are (1) disclaimers of warranties; (2) automatic renewal provisions; (3) arbitration clauses; (4) portions of deed in lieu of foreclosure contracts; and (5) anything where the non-authoring party foregoes or waives a customary right.

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Answered on 6/11/03, 5:20 pm

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