Quebec Bar Association Releases Plain Language Guide
The guide contains:
- definitions and advantages of plain language
- a few rules for using plain language
- hints on how to explain legal issues and notions
- examples of difficult and confusing legal expressions and turns of phrase
- Plain Language Resources for Law, Business, Government, and Life (August 9, 2005): "Clear language or plain language refers to jargon-free, understandable language. For the past 20 years or more, an international movement has been working to make the language used in law, health information, financial services, commerce and business more accessible. Plain language does NOT mean dumbed down or simplistic vocabulary."
- Move Toward Plain Language in Canadian Court Decisions (November 7, 2005): "Saturday's Globe and Mail contains an article by Richard Blackwell entitled 'Doing the write thing: Judges used to put out decisions that were incomprehensible. Now they are sometimes even eloquent. The writing lessons didn't hurt'... As the article explains, the Supreme Court has been removing Latin words from its rulings and altering the format to make them easier to follow for people reading electronic versions on a website. The clear language push is also being promoted in Canada by such organizations as the National Judicial Institute and the Montreal-based Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, where new judges have their writing critiqued by English professors."
- Plain Language Legal Writing (January 22, 2006): "The Canadian Bar Association's PracticeLink has just published its third in a series of articles on plain language in legal writing: Mastering Modern Legal Correspondence."
- Myths About the Complexity of Legal Language (November 17, 2006): "The Social Science Research Network has published a forthcoming article on Some Myths about Legal Language by Professor Peter Tiersma of the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles (...) Excerpts from the final section of the full-text: (...) 'Thus, the main obstacle to writing the law in plain English is that, unless the law itself is vastly simplified, it will require the use of so many words that there will be nothing plain about it. Most advocates of plain English recognize this problem. Although they continue to agitate for plainer language in legal documents, including statutes, they realize that many parts of the law are too complex to allow them to be fully and comprehensibly explained to ordinary citizens. They therefore advocate that those legal areas in which citizens have particular interest, like criminal law, be officially summarized and explained'."
- George Orwell and Plain Language in Law (June 25, 2007): "Judith D. Fischer, University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, has an article on the Social Science Research Network entitled Why George Orwell's Ideas About Language Still Matter for Lawyers. The article deals with the use of clear language in legal writing but also analyses the use of deceit in legal and political discourse in the United States ..."
- British Parliamentary Publication on Use and Abuse of Official Language (December 7, 2009): "The Public Administration Committee of the British House of Commons recently published a report entitled Bad Language: The Use and Abuse of Official Language that deals with the damage done by unclear, inaccurate and confusing language in official documents (...)"
- Éducaloi Conference on Plain Language and the Law (September 7, 2010): "Éducaloi, a non-profit organization that specializes in public legal education in Quebec, is organizing a conference in Montreal on October 21st and 22nd on the topic of plain language and the law (...) We hope to win you over with a unique program and the quality of our speakers and panellists, who include several guests from the rest of Canada and abroad. Choose from 17 workshops covering a wide range of topics, including Plain Language and the Art of Drafting Judgments, Revisiting the Language of Contracts, Providing Legal Information Using Social Media and Head to Head: the Journalist and the Expert."
Labels: plain language