Uncategorized December 12, 2022
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines legal language as “the language used by lawyers that is difficult for most people to understand; legalese. It is a language based on the use of archaic terms, poor grammar and sentence structure, and unnecessary repetition. One commentator described it a little differently: “Legal jargon – is pompous and boring, adds nothing substantial, gives a false sense of accuracy and obscures gaps in analysis.” Gerald Lebovits, On Terra Firma with English, Scribes J. of Legal Writing 2014-15, p. 123. The language of the American legal system is heavily influenced by Latin. As a result, many Latin terms taken from their original text have been translated into a language commonly used by jurists called the legal language. Similarly, Canada`s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) requires organizations to be transparent to the public about their data-handling practices, which means that privacy policies must be clear and illegal. But when it comes to drafting legal documents, the rule seems to be “legal German, please!” Legal language is a commonly used style of creating legal documents, which involves torturing the English language for the purported purpose of clarity and precision, but this often leads to the opposite. On the other hand, when legal language is used in litigation, it is often made to tie a crime to previous proceedings. This is because the effects of crime are different depending on past decisions. Given that much of our court system is based on judgments that have been made in the past, lawyers could argue that this is necessary.
One of the most important tasks of a lawyer is precision and accuracy. Language is no exception. Even though there is a broader language that could be used to communicate a point, this is not the purpose of a lawyer when using legal German.  Bryan Garner defines jargon as “the special, primarily technical, language of any social, professional or professional group. It stems from the need to streamline communication, save time and space – and sometimes hide meaning from the uninitiated. “Bryan A. Garner, Garner`s Modern English Usage 535-36 (2016). It means that it is acceptable for one scholar to talk to another, but unacceptable if “its purpose is to show how much more the speaker or author as a scholar knows than ordinary listeners or readers.” Example: I don`t understand most of the terms and conditions of this app. It`s all legalese.
In many ways, the ideologies of the plain language movement follow the model of linguistic subordination described by sociolinguist Rosina Lippi-Greene, in which one language variety is subordinated to another through a process of mystification, prescription, and normalization. The hoax occurs whenever self-proclaimed language guardians claim that the language is in decline and needs to be corrected. A prescription occurs when these same tutors then claim the power to prescribe rules for the use of language, legitimizing certain usages or styles, while stigmatizing others. Finally, standardization takes place when guardians perpetuate the idea that these rules will lead to a purer and higher standard for all linguistic uses. The plain language movement largely followed these processes of subordination in order to remedy the problems it associated with legal language. But each of these processes is based on specific myths about language that are criticized by current sociolinguistic literature. As self-proclaimed guardians of language, plain language advocates should therefore be aware of the following three myths: prescriptivism, standard language ideology, and moral superiority. This is confirmed by a recent study. Researchers from MIT and the University of Edinburgh (Martinez, Mollica, and Gibson, 2022) used legal and non-legal texts containing millions of words to research the relative prevalence of linguistic characteristics that distinguish legal communication from communication in other social contexts.
In short, they find that legal writing is different in many ways, and these differences result in significantly lower rates of comprehension and memory when these texts are read and interpreted by the public. Lawyers may be attracted to this style of writing because they feel it conveys more accuracy and precision, or simply because it fits the expectation of sounding “legal.” But too often, the legal style fails the most basic linguistic function of reliably conveying meaning. In this article, I will focus on the factors that researchers identify as the most common culprits in limiting the comprehensibility of legal language. There is a time and a place for legal language. When filling out court documents and filing formal legal letters, you may see the need to include some of them. After all, it`s the documents that are mostly read by other lawyers, so writing makes sense in the legal field. But what about your company`s website? What about your blog or via social media? If you are a lawyer, you may already be familiar with the term “legal language”. For those who may not know, it is “legal language” or language filled with a whole range of legal terminology and scientific/academic words, phrases, and terms.
Juristendeutsch uses terms such as “Bestimmung” and “Satzung” without explaining their definitions. He uses strange words like “hereby” and “henceforth.” When using legal language, you usually avoid contractions and general jargon for the most part. However, the litmus test for the construction of a “legal” document is the repetition of numbers in Arabic characters and words. Where can you find a 10-day notice period described as “ten (10) days` notice”? This form of repetition seems to be based on the assumption that a typical reader will not be able to discern the meaning of a number unless it is repeated as both a word and an Arabic character. This custom is so ingrained in the defence of real estate that even the transmission of two copies of a title bond to a client is called “Please find enclosed two (2) copies of the title report”. Where else, except when writing cheques, is it necessary to use both numbers and letters? It is generally acceptable for lawyers to use legal language when it comes to contracts. However, the use of legal language is one of the reasons why so many people need to hire lawyers to help them review and revise contracts. Legal language can quickly become confusing for someone who isn`t a lawyer, so hiring specialized expertise is a great way to avoid this. 3.
Use well-understood artistic terms if they are more precise than general terminology and if you are writing to a professional audience. The beginning law student will have a hard time knowing when an art term is likely to be well understood, as they are all new to the beginner. Over time, however, new law students will develop a slight familiarity with artistic terms, and deciding whether or not to use them will be less difficult. In addition to the “legality” of a document, the words “h” are included: herein, herein, herein, hereunder, hereunder and below. These words, with the exception of “below”, are beyond precision as it is never clear whether they refer to a particular paragraph, section or the entire agreement. Typically, the use of such language requires the author to add a separate definition section to clarify its meaning due to its latent ambiguity. You won`t see these words in everyday language or even in non-fiction books, except perhaps the use of “in the afterlife” to refer to existence beyond the grave.