Hedge Clause

Protects accountants from errors shown in the account sheets.

Author: Abhijeet Avhale
Abhijeet Avhale
Abhijeet Avhale
Although physics being my primary background, finance is something that I've always actively pursued. This provides a very unique perspective to some financial concepts. As an author I've always tried to put in some extra effort to make that perspective visible, sometimes making it mathematically rigor or sometimes giving other stochastic processes as examples. I have a broad experience in the fields of data science, machine learning, stochastic differential equations and fundamental finance - accounting and valuation.
Reviewed By: Parul Gupta
Parul Gupta
Parul Gupta
Working as a Chief Editor, customer support, and content moderator at Wall Street Oasis.
Last Updated:April 1, 2024

What Is a Hedge Clause?

A hedge clause is a clause that is frequently used in contracts or other legal documents that aims to limit or disclaim obligation for specific actions, events, or consequences.

It is also referred to as an exculpatory clause, disclaimer clause, or phrase of limitation. These provisions are usually added to contracts or agreements to shield one party from obligations or claims in court.

The extent and wording of hedge clauses might differ significantly based on the specifics of the contract. They might cover guarantees, indemnity, damages, warranties, or other possible responsibilities.

A hedging clause's objectives are to clarify the parties' obligations and rights while reducing the risks connected to the contract. The clause states that if any inaccuracy is found, the author is not responsible or liable for the risks taken.

This creates potential danger for misuse of the clause for malpractices, as the writer is not held accountable. For the same reasons, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released an interpretation of the Advisers Act explaining the limitations of the underlying clause.

Hedge provisions may occasionally be declared unconstitutional by courts, deemed to be against public policy, or attempting to absolve parties of liability for willful misbehavior or egregious carelessness.

As a result, it's imperative that parties to contracts thoroughly review the wording and enforcement of any hedge clauses that are included.

Key Takeaways

  • Hedge clauses allow parties to limit their potential exposure to liabilities and losses arising from the contract, thereby managing risks more effectively.
  • Well-drafted hedge clauses provide clarity and certainty regarding the parties' rights and obligations under the contract, helping to prevent misunderstandings and disputes.
  • Parties have the flexibility to negotiate the terms of hedge clauses to suit their specific needs and circumstances, but this should be done with consideration for fairness and balance.
  • Hedge clauses must comply with applicable laws and regulations, and parties should be aware of potential challenges to their enforceability, such as unconscionability or public policy concerns.

Typical Hedge Clause Structure

A hedging clause's structure might change based on the parties involved and the particular circumstances. But this is an example of a standard hedging clause structure:

1. Introduction: The first sentence of the hedge clause normally explains its purpose. For example, "This Agreement contains certain hedge clauses limiting liability."

2. Scope: The provision usually identifies the obligations, risks, and liabilities that it aims to limit or disclaim. This helps to clarify the extent of its application. This section could enumerate certain situations or occurrences that the hedging clause covers.

3. Limitation of Liability: The disclaimer or limitation of liability forms the foundation of the hedge clause. This section describes the extent to which one party (typically the party writing the contract) tries to minimize its responsibility for specific deeds, occurrences, or results.


A disclaimer might read, "In no event shall [Party A] be liable for [specific types of damages or losses]."

4. Exceptions: Hedge clauses may contain exceptions that define specific circumstances in which liability cannot be disclaimed in order to prevent overly restrictive language. For instance, the clause can state that willful misbehavior or egregious carelessness precludes disclaiming liability.

5. Severability: This clause ensures that the remaining terms of the agreement will remain enforceable to the maximum degree allowed by law, even if any portion of the hedge clause is determined to be unenforceable.

6. Governing legislation: Any issues arising out of the agreement may be interpreted and enforced in accordance with the legislation specified by the hedging clause.

7. Interpretation: A clause explaining the hedge clause's meaning and saying that it should be interpreted equitably, without harming any party, may be included.

Types of Hedge Clause

Depending on the particular situation and needs of the parties involved, hedge clauses can take on a variety of shapes. Here are a few examples of typical hedging clause types:

1. General Limitation of Liability Clause: This kind of hedge clause aims to restrict one party's or both parties' total contractual liability. Generally, it says that, up to a given sum or scope, neither party will be responsible for any particular kind of damage.

2. Time Limitation Clause: Time limitation clauses establish a deadline for filing lawsuits or seeking damages against one or both parties. The party attempting to enforce a claim may no longer be able to do so after the allotted time frame has passed.

3. Exclusion of Certain Types of Damages: Some hedging clauses expressly shield against liability for certain losses, like punitive, consequential, or indirect damages.


Parties might concentrate on losses that are more obvious and direct by eliminating certain damages.

4. Indemnification Clause: The purpose of indemnity clauses is to transfer liability or obligation for certain risks from one party to another. Under these articles, a party undertakes to reimburse the other party for any losses, damages, or liabilities resulting from particular incidents or situations.

5. No Warranty Clause: This type of agreement limits or excludes any implied warranties or guarantees that could otherwise be in place due to customs or legal requirements. It states that the goods or services provided under the contract are provided "as is" or "with all faults" without any express or implied warranties.

6. Specific Exclusions: Certain categories of liabilities or occurrences may be subject to particular exclusions or carve-outs under certain hedge clauses.


A hedge provision might state, for instance, that it does not cover obligations resulting from deliberate wrongdoing or fraud.

7. Force Majeure Clause: In the event of unforeseeable events beyond either party's control, such as natural catastrophes, acts of war, or government actions, one or both parties may be released from their contractual duties.

8. Severability Clause: Severability clauses guarantee that the remaining terms of the contract will remain enforceable and valid even if any portion of the hedging clause is determined to be unenforceable.

Advantages of Hedge Clause

A hedge clause has the following advantages.

  1. Risk Mitigation: By using hedge provisions, parties can reduce the potential losses and liabilities resulting from the contract. By specifying the scope of obligation, parties can more effectively manage their risks and safeguard their interests.
  2. Clarity and Certainty: Well-written hedging provisions clarify the parties' respective rights and responsibilities under the agreement. Avoiding miscommunications and conflicts may result in smoother business interactions.
  3. Encourages Agreements: Because hedge provisions protect against potential risks and obligations, they may persuade parties to enter into agreements that they otherwise might not have been inclined to. Parties may feel more at ease conducting business when liability is limited.
  4. Flexibility in Negotiation: Parties are free to tailor the hedge clause's provisions to their unique requirements and situations. This allows for contract customization according to the parties' individual risk tolerance and bargaining position.
  5. Reduced Costs: By limiting liability through hedge clauses, insurance premiums, and other risk management expenses may be reduced. The parties concerned may save money as a result.

disadvantages of Hedge Clause

Parties should carefully consider various factors and seek legal advice when drafting or relying on hedge clauses in their contracts. The disadvantages are as follows:

  1. Unequal Bargaining Power: Unequal negotiations frequently result from one party having a substantial amount more bargaining power than the other. As a result, hedging clauses may be created that unfairly benefit the stronger party at the expense of the weaker party.
  2. Potential Unenforceability: If a court finds a hedge clause to be unjust, unreasonable, or against public policy, it may refuse to enforce it. As a result, parties may become liable for more than they had meant for the contract to cover.
  3. Increased Risk for Weaker Party: Weaker parties in contracts, such as consumers or small firms, may bear a disproportionate share of the risks as a result of hedge clauses. This may result in circumstances where the less fortunate party suffers large losses or damages and has few options for recovery.
  4. Complexity and Uncertainty: It can be difficult to draft hedging clauses that both appropriately reflect the parties' objectives and adhere to legal requirements. The clause's ambiguities or inconsistencies could give rise to disagreements or raise questions about how to interpret and enforce it.
  5. Insufficient Protection: In some situations, such as deliberate wrongdoing, fraud, or egregious carelessness, hedge provisions may not offer sufficient protection. If parties just utilize hedge provisions, they may leave themselves open to unanticipated risks and obligations.

Regulations on a Hedge Clause

As the authors and writers are not held responsible for the errors and misinformation in the reports, they can enact unethical behaviors and indulge in misconduct.

To prevent misconduct, the Investment Advisers Act was established in 1940. This act states the standardized code, with limitations to misinformation and errors in a report. However, the authors of the financial statement, information, or document are still liable for those exceptions.

An interpretation of the Advisors Act of 1940 was released by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on January 11th, 2022, to prevent malpractice.

The SEC started taking action and restricting the flexibility of the hedge clause. Situations were made more discrete with rules relating to anti-fraud policies. Whether the clause is legitimate or fraudulent will be decided per the clause and the particular misinformation in the corresponding article or report.

Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Advisers Act restrict advisors from launching schemes or engaging in activities that defraud clients, primarily when the actions favor advisors or advisors' investments.

The following are some important details about how hedging clauses are regulated:

1. Contract Law: Contract law contains the main rules governing hedge clauses. Under most legal systems, parties to a contract are allowed to negotiate any conditions they like, including liability limitations.

However, this freedom is nevertheless subject to restrictions, such as those pertaining to justice, clarity, and adherence to the law.

2. Unconscionability: If a hedge clause is deemed unconscionable, a court may refuse to enforce it. Unconscionability occurs when one party uses the other's weakness or lack of bargaining power to insert unjust or oppressive provisions in the contract.

3. Public Policy: Hedge clauses that seek to absolve parties of responsibility for fraud, deliberate wrongdoing, or specific forms of carelessness may be invalid due to their violation of public policy.


Courts may decide not to uphold hedge clauses to preserve justice and safeguard the public interest.

4. Statutory Regulation: In some jurisdictions, the usage of hedging clauses in particular industries or contract types is governed by statutes or regulations.

For instance, firms may not be able to employ excessively broad limitation of liability clauses in contracts with customers due to consumer protection legislation.

5. Particular areas: There may be extra rules or guidelines governing the use of hedging clauses in some areas, such as finance or healthcare.

These sectors' regulatory authorities or professional associations may offer guidelines or limitations on the use of such clauses in contracts.

6. Negotiation and Drafting: Depending on their individual bargaining power and interests, parties to contracts frequently negotiate the parameters of hedging provisions.


Parties may benefit from the assistance of knowledgeable negotiators and legal counsel in drafting hedge clauses that offer sufficient protection and are enforceable.

7. Judicial Interpretation: Courts are heavily involved in interpreting and implementing hedge provisions in contract disputes.

Judges may consider factors such as the clarity of the language, the relative bargaining power of the parties, and the reasonableness of the limitations when determining the enforceability of hedge clauses.


Hedge clauses are crucial instruments in contract law. They allow parties to control risks, specify obligations, and guarantee agreement clarity.

They provide benefits like flexible negotiations and reduced risk, but they can also have drawbacks like uneven negotiating strength and difficulties enforcing the agreement.

Parties must approach the writing and negotiation of hedge clauses with great care to ensure fairness and adherence to legal requirements.

Parties should consult legal counsel to navigate complicated legal requirements and ensure that hedge clauses appropriately reflect their aims while offering sufficient protection for all parties concerned. 

Hedge clauses can help ensure that contractual relationships run smoothly by balancing risk management and fairness, which promotes predictability and confidence between parties.

Hedge clauses are an important part of contract drafting and negotiation; nevertheless, to serve their intended purpose, they must be carefully drafted with meticulous attention to detail and a sophisticated understanding of legal concepts.

Free Resources

To continue learning and advancing your career, check out these additional helpful WSO resources: