Monday, January 12, 2015

Examples: Translating Legalese into Plain English

Here are two examples of translating legalese into plain English, perfect for classroom use. They come from Joseph Kimble’s book, Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please: The Case for Plain Language in Business, Government, and Law. Joe is a pioneer in the plain English movement.

First Version:


Needless to say, we disagree with much that is   set forth in the Court of Appeal's Opinion herein. Nevertheless, this Petition   for Rehearing is restricted to but a single aspect of the said Opinion.   This single aspect is the one which pertains to that ratification of an act   of his agent which is submitted to flow from the facts as represented by Mr.   Jones to the Superior Court (Opinion:  page 4, line 2 to page 5,   line 2, page 11, line 7 to page 12, line 19). Specifically, we respectfully   submit that the Court of Appeal's views relative to the assumed non-existence   of such ratification, are predicated upon a factual assumption which is   disclosed by the record to be incorrect. This being so, we   submit that the actual facts, revealed by the record, are such   as clearly to entitle us to prevail in respect of the ratification theory.

Second Version:


Although we disagree with much of the Court of   Appeal's opinion, we limit this Petition for Rehearing to a single aspect:   The question of whether Mr. Jones ratified the act of his agent. The Court   found that he did not (Opinion, pp. 4-5, 11-12). We respectfully   submit that this finding was based upon a misreading of the facts. The Court   assumed facts that were clearly contrary to those in the trial record which   pointed to ratification. We are, therefore, entitled to a rehearing.

Old Rule (Fed. R. App. P. 3(e)):

(e) Payment of fees.— Upon the filing of any   separate or joint notice of appeal from the district court, the appellant shall   pay to the clerk of the district court such fees as are established by   statute, and also the docket fee prescribed by the Judicial Conference of the   United States, the latter to be received by the clerk of the district court   on behalf of the court of appeals.

New Rule:

(e) Payment of Fees. Upon filing a notice of appeal, the appellant   must pay the district clerk all required fees. The district clerk receives   the appellate docket fee on behalf of the court of appeals.



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