Is A Fair Statement Anything More Than Accurate?

Allen Matkins
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Allen Matkins

I often hear lawyers ask witnesses  X is a "fair statement".  When I hear this expression, I wonder do they mean is X an accurate statement or something else?  If they mean that the statement is literally "fair", as in just and equitable, then the questions become under what standards and to whom?

Some rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission require that a statement or translation be "fair and accurate".  For example, Item 407(i) of Regulation S-K requires a "fair and accurate summary" of employee, officer and director policies in respect of hedging.  In this context, "fair" might mean "complete".  However, if that is the case, why not use "complete"?  It is also possible that that SEC was simply being redundant - an inaccurate summary would be an unfair summary.   One point appears to be clear - the SEC's use of "fair" belies the fairness of the requirement.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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