Four Corners Of An Instrument Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Four Corners Of An Instrument, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Four Corners Of An Instrument?

(n) The phrase ‘Four Corners of An Instrument ‘ is used to limit the meaning and understanding of the provisions contained in a document within the expressed words in that document. In such an interpretation of document, the external factors will not influence the meaning.

History and Meaning of Four Corners Of An Instrument

The term "Four Corners of An Instrument" is a legal phrase that has been used for many years in the field of law. It refers to the idea that the provisions contained within a written document, such as a contract or agreement, can only be interpreted based on the explicit wording of the document itself. This means that no outside information or evidence can be used to influence the interpretation of the document.

The term "Four Corners" comes from the concept that the meaning of the document is based solely on the words found within its "four corners," or the edges of the physical document.

Examples of Four Corners Of An Instrument

  1. In a contract dispute, the judge will determine the meaning of the contract based solely on the language found within its "four corners." This means that any oral agreements or outside evidence will not be considered.
  2. If a lease agreement states that a tenant is responsible for all repairs within the rented property, this provision can only be interpreted based on the wording found within the document itself, regardless of any prior discussions between the landlord and tenant.
  3. When drafting a will, it is important to be clear and concise in order to limit any confusion or misinterpretation of the document's provisions based on the "four corners" rule.

Legal Terms Similar to Four Corners Of An Instrument

  1. Parol Evidence Rule - This rule states that outside evidence cannot be used to modify, explain or contradict the terms of a written contract.
  2. Plain Meaning Rule - This rule states that the plain and ordinary meaning of the words in a document should be used in interpretation, rather than any other extrinsic evidence.
  3. Contra Proferentem Rule - This rule states that any ambiguities or uncertainties in a contract should be construed against the party that drafted the contract.