We know that reading sentences with capital letters is hard. I noticed that some documents are still written with capital letters. Why are license agreements, disclaiming letters and others written with capital letters?


3 Answers 3


There are two reasons why legal documents have sections in all caps. The first is that some state laws are very specific on having a certain font size (usually no smaller than...) and some method of calling attention to a particular legal passage that has some special significance. Usually it has to do with waiving of some legal right, such as a right to a jury trial.

The second reason is that it helps to focus the reader on certain terms, such as the material terms of a contract or license. That way it is harder for someone to say they didn't see that part.

It is for these same reasons that you might have to initial certain sections of a legal document.


It's something to do with legal. The lawyers think that screaming gets the point across better. You'd have to ask the legal department which approved the document in question.

  • 1
    I wonder if they really do think that screaming gets the point across better... it seems so obvious that capitalizing everything prevents the documents from being read in the first place. I doubt that there is any legal requirement for using caps, but then again, I'm anything but an expert on that... Commented May 30, 2012 at 20:09
  • @codesparkle Legal conventions for capitalizing pre-dated computing by hundreds of years. Even in computing, all caps were common, rather, the ONLY option, until about 30 years ago. The inference of shouting when using all-cap's is even more recent. Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 6:47

Simply copying the answer in this question in Law Stack Exchange: In Contracts, why is some text all in uppercase?

It is actually because "this is important". Under US law, disclaimers must be "conspicuous" (UCC 2-316). So you can talk regularly when you're just stating the terms, but if you're disclaiming liability, YOU MUST BE CONSPICUOUS ("to exclude or modify the implied warranty of merchantability or any part of it the language must mention merchantability and in case of a writing must be conspicuous, and to exclude or modify any implied warranty of fitness the exclusion must be by a writing and conspicuous"). There are many ways to make text conspicuous, so bold or larger type would do, but all-caps is pretty bullet-proof from a technological perspective.

Thanks to ohwilleke for salient citations: invalidation of a plain-type buried indemnification clause, all-caps clause held to be sufficient, law review article on the conspicuousness requirement.

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