Meaning of “will” and “shall”

Legal assistance paper

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Date produced: 08/12/2010

Is there a legal difference between “will” and “shall”?

It’s a very fine distinction, if any, and parties should not get distracted by this debate, but ‘shall’ is preferable as being more associated with ‘mandating’ language than the term ‘will’ which is more associated with the future sense. Angels on the head of a pin though, without a deadline neither term makes clear when the new fund must be in place and both indicate that one should be established.

In short, we do not think there is a big difference especially in the context, but traditionally the COP has used ‘shall’ rather than ‘will’.