Clarity and precision in legal writing are essential skills in the practice and study of law. This bo #ok offers a straightforward, practical guide to effective legal style from a world-leading expert.
The book is thoughtfully structured to explain the elements of good legal writing and its most effective use. It catalogues all aspects of legal style, topic by topic, phrase by phrase, usage by usage. It scrutinises them all, suggesting improvements. Its ‘dictionary’ arrangement makes it easy to navigate.
Entries cover matters such as abbreviations, acronyms, active and passive voice, brackets, bullet points, citation methods, cross-referencing, fonts, document design, footnotes, gender-neutral language, numbering systems, plain legal language, punctuation, the use of Latin in law, structures for legal advices and documents, and techniques for editing and proofreading. Also covered are many words and phrases that non-lawyers find opaque and obscure-the aim being to show that lawyers can usually substitute a plain-English equivalent that captures the legal nuances of the ‘legalese’. Other topics include ambiguity, deeds, definitions, provisos, recitals, simplified outlines, terms of art, tone, and the various principles of legal interpretation.
With an emphasis on technical effectiveness and understanding, the book is required reading for all those engaged in the practice and study of law.
Peter Butt is Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Sydney. Formerly, visiting professor at the Universities of Vanderbilt, Nottingham, Bristol, London, Cambridge. Former Inns of Court Fellow (Inner Temple, London).
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