The technical writing engaged in by members of the legal profession falls into two classes, referred to for convenience as legal writing and legal drafting. Legal. Introduction to Legal Drafting by. David E. Pierce. Director, Business and Transactional Law Center. Washburn University School of Law. I. THE GOAL OF . Using the present tense. Advice from experts. Legislative drafting practice. Other thoughts on stimulating ideas about writing legislation and legal documents.

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This Eversheds guide to legal drafting in English is not a dictionary, grammar book or academic tome. Neither is it a comprehensive look at aspects of. English in. The charge that we lawyers cannot write plain English is often supported by the quality of our legal documents.' Legal drafting has aspects of complexity and. What is drafting? Drafting – or perhaps more accurately, legal drafting – divides into two main disciplines, namely, the drafting of legal documents such.

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A Guide to Using Clearer Language

Sign in. It is hard to make a change to a page of printed text without leaving evidence of the change. Namely, amendments can be hard to express on top of paper copies of bills.

However, large inserts are problematic. Deletes are easily expressed with strike-through — often with a colored pen — but become unwieldy when large amounts of text are being marked for deletion.

In the early days of PDF, it was hard to edit the files because of the complexity of the underlying codes used to describe the page layout. However, technology has moved on and, today, making modifications to PDF documents is within the capabilities of many applications — desktop and online — and this is a cause of concern for legislatures.

Another cause for concern is that the state-of-the-art in tools for annotating — as opposed to amending — PDFs has not kept up with the needs of legislatures.

To the extent your meaning allows, use a singular noun instead of a plural noun. You will avoid the problem of whether the rule applies separately to each member of a class or jointly to the class as a whole.

There are other possible meanings. Be consistent.

Don't use different words to denote the same things. Variation for the sake of variation has no place in regulation writing.


Using a synonym rather than repeating the precise term you intend just confuses the reader. Don't use the same word to denote different things.

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A negative statement can be clear. This style results in procedures that are shorter, crisper, and easier to understand.

By drafting in the present tense, you avoid complicated and awkward verb forms. Directness avoids the passive voice: You could not be signed in.