Sunday, November 25, 2007

Simple or Leaglese

The word Leaglese means

Leaglese: language containing an excessive amount of legal terminology or of legal jargon.
some examples are: herein, hereto, hereby, heretofore, whereas, whereby, and wherefore ; said and such (as adjectives).

Legal writing includes many words taken from different languages
Which includes terms derived from French (such as estoppel, laches, and voir dire) and Latin (both terms of art such as certiorari, habeas corpus, and prima facie; and non-terms of art such as inter alia, mens rea, and sub judice). These foreign words are not written in italics or other distinctive type as is customary when foreign words appear in other English writing.

Legal writing is a type of technical writing used by legislators, lawyers, judges, and others in law to express legal analysis and legal rights and duties. Its distinguishing features include reliance on and citation to authority, importance of precedent, specialized vocabulary or jargon, and a tendency toward excessively complicated grammar and overformality.

But there is a shift towards Plain Language over Legalese in todays corporate world in contracts, JVs, etc. The popularity of Plain language and the shift towards it cause now a manger in a company doesn’t need to consult a lawyer before making his move cause the language is simple and clear which saves time and not to mentiont lot of money. However lawyers understandly are not a happy bunch, more than the work which is being taken away from them, the fear the Dumbing Down of the legal writing, the fear cause the language is so simple it might not cater to their clients interest, misunderstandings are more likely to occur.

"Plain English emphasises meaning over rules and clarity over elegance"
Rosemarie Park


I am all for plain language over legalese, but there has to be balance between the two. Cause the Legal writing has gone through number of changes in the last 40 years or so. Plain language may not fit everywhere, but at the same time interpreting every little detail into complex Legalese sentence also will not work. We can certainly do away with the terms mention above (supra) Herein, hereto, herewith, etc

Some replacements

Leaglese ----/---------- Simple
advert to -/-------------- mention
aforementioned -/-------- often best omitted
ambit -/-------------------reach or scope
approximately -/---------- about
a large number of -/------- many
for the reason that -/------ because
frequently -/---------------often
forthwith -/---------------- immediately
fundamental -/------------- basic
prior to -/------------------ before
provision of law -/---------- law
purchase -/------------------buy
was aware -/----------------knew