Checklist: Drafting Effective Releases

May 2019 | 1 Comments  Average 4 out of 5

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About This Resource

A release is a multipurpose risk management tool that can educate the person signing the document (the signor) about the potential risks of an activity while benefiting sponsoring educational institutions as well. A signor who is injured during an activity that is covered by a release may be less likely to bring a claim. Releases can also act as leverage for negotiating the settlement of a claim, or to persuade a court to dismiss a negligence lawsuit.  

This checklist contains guidelines for revising or drafting effective releases and can highlight areas where modifications may be necessary. Tips include:

  • The release should describe a voluntary activity and be narrowly tailored and specific to the activity it covers
  • The potential signors of the release should be identified
  • None of the potential signors should be a minor
  • All of the potential signors should understand English
  • The institution’s legal counsel should write or review the release
  • The name of the institution and the party signing the release must be accurate.
  • The activities constituting the subject of the release should be described with sufficient detail
  • The activity’s start and end dates must be correct  

Are those who deal with contracts at your institution using best practices in drafting effective releases?


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    I'm happy to say that we are following the protocols outlined above. I would add that it's important to consult with Legal Counsel to determine how long different types of releases should be held. Also, develop an effective, reasonable, and consistent implementation process.

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