The Principles of Contract Interpretation

The Chapter continues its partnership with George Mason University Executive and Professional Education by offering a seminar on contract interpretation.


Program Description

The presentation begins with comments on two key preliminary considerations – contract formation, i.e., whether there is a contract (and FAR Part 16 types that sometimes spawn misunderstandings) and contract content (including the duty of good faith, the Parol Evidence Rule, and the “Christian Doctrine”). Contract interpretation is addressed beginning with the objective-subjective views and the law’s preferences for certain interpretative results.  Then the principles that apply to the words of the contract are explained. This is followed by the Plain Meaning Rule, a gate-keeper in federal contract litigation on the consideration of information from outside the pages of the contract. The principles that are applied to outside information are then explained. Finally the tie-breaking rule of contra proferentemis explained, along with its federal exception – the contractors’ duty to inquire into a “patent ambiguity” in the solicitation.

In this seminar attendees will learn about:

  • Principles of Contract Interpretation


Friday, November 16, 2018 8:30AM to 10:30AM Registration, Breakfast, and Networking Start at 7:30AM


UNICOM Technology Park Conference Center

15000 Conference Center Drive
Chantilly, VA 20151

UNICOM Technology Park Conference Center

The Presenter

Kenneth J. Allen, author, The Contract Interpretation Handbook, A Guide to Avoiding and Resolving Government Contract Disputes (Thomson Reuters)

Ken was in the federal government (military and civil service) from 1970 to 2007, when he retired and became the General Counsel of a defense contractor. He retired again in 2009, and teaches and writes. He is a co-founder of the Public Contracting Institute for whom he teaches contract interpretation, fiscal law, legal ethics, a variety of government contracting subjects, and federal grants (he is the author of Thomson Reuters’ authoritative 1600 page Federal Grant Practice). He has been a presenter at the NCMA World Conference and SubCon conferences (2016 & 17), ABA national convention (2018), the the Army War College and Naval Postgraduate School (2005-present), and the Government Contract Year in Review (2014-18). Within the last 18 months he has addressed NCMA Chapter meetings in Bethesda, Boston (x2), Charlotte NC, and Pomona CA. He is the author of several NCMA Contract Management magazine articles (next article in December 2018) and Thomson Reuters’ Briefing Papers (latest one in November 2018). Ken is a member of the NCMA Frederick Chapter.

Other Details

In order to save on printing costs and to give people an option to use a laptop or tablet, we will email the seminar presentation and any materials prior to the event. The UNICOM Technology Park Conference Center provides complimentary Wi-Fi if you prefer to download the presentation files on the day of the event. We will NOT have printed copies available the day of the event. Our event cancellation and inclement weather policy is here.

Reach Us

You can contact us by filling out the form or using one of the methods below.

P.O. Box 231324
Centreville, VA 20120

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