The Electronic House Style lets organizations check for consistent use of product names, dates, titles and other standards.
The charge here is theft of frozen chickens. Are you the defendant? Thanks to Robert Patterson, esq. The first major struggle in England was to get legal texts into English, the language of the people, rather than French or Latin.
William and his followers spoke a type of French. And their legal documents were mainly in Latin, and later also in French.
English, in contrast, was the lower-class language of a subjugated people. The vast majority of the English people had always been English speakers. Nor surprisingly, bythe new king, Henry VI, was a native English speaker. Yet French did not die out among English lawyers.
Au contraire, it thrived. Unhappiness about this state of affairs led to what might be considered the first plain English law: The law, written in French, recited that French was much unknown in the realm; it therefore required that all pleas be "pleaded, shewed, defended, answered, debated, and judged in the English Tongue.
Individual parts of each code should be small enough for people to remember, and written clearly enough for citizens to know the "exact idea of the will of the legislator.
Some of the founding fathers were well aware of the problems with legal language. John Adams criticized English legal language and the "useless words" in the colonial charters. He hoped that "common sense in common language" would become fashionable.
Likewise, Thomas Jefferson lambasted the traditional style of statutes, which from their verbosity, their endless tautologies, their involutions of case within case, and parenthesis within parenthesis, and their multiplied efforts at certainty by saids and aforesaids, by ors and by ands, to make them more plain, do really render them more perplexed and incomprehensible, not only to common readers, but to lawyers themselves.
Unfortunately, the revolutionary fervor of the early Americans did not extend to overthrowing the language of the law. A modern plain English movement did not really arise until the s. In fact, plain English principles have been incorporated into the writing curriculum of most law schools.
The crusade to make legal language less convoluted and more accessible to average citizens has also resonated outside the academy.
In the United States, some of the earliest efforts to improve legal language directed at consumers were initiated by the Federal government, beginning rather modestly in the s.
In President Carter signed an executive order that required that Federal regulations be "as simple and clear as possible. Egged on by the consumer movement, the states also responded.
Most states now require straightforward language in specific transactions, especially insurance policies. Click here for a sample of state plain language laws. After slowing during much of the s, the movement has recently picked up steam. Some states are in the process of making their jury instructions more understandable, or have recently done so.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has begun to require that the summary and certain other portions of prospectuses be in ordinary language.Lifting The Fog Of Legalese: Essays On Plain Language, by Joseph Kimble, Carolina Academic Press.
Plain English for Lawyers, Richard Wydick, Carolina Academic Press. Legal Writing in Plain English, a text with exercises, Bryan Garner, University of Chicago Press.
A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, Bryan Garner, Oxford Univ. Press. The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) is the official interagency working group designated to assist in issuing plain writing guidance. The PLAIN web site includes guidelines on plain language and tools for writing in plain language.
Plain English is writing that is clear and straightforward, targeted at the appropriate reading level, and free of jargon, wordiness, and clichés.
Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners, 2nd Edition. by Jane D. Hill and Kirsten B. Miller. Table of Contents. Chapter 1. Academic Language.
(3) PLAIN WRITING.—The term ‘‘plain writing’’ means writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended. The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing.
A new movement strives for simplicity. BY VICTORIA CLAYTON, THE ATLANTIC — October 26, “Persistence is one of the great characteristics of a pitbull, and I guess owners take after their dogs,” says Annetta Cheek, the co-founder of the D.C.-based nonprofit Center for Plain Language.