Friday, March 24, 2017

Should We Use And/Or?

In a recent article, Ira Robbins  says yes. “And/Or' and the Proper Use of Legal Language (March 6, 2017).” Maryland Law Review, forthcoming. His argument:

And/or, however, is not ambiguous at all. It has a definite, agreed-upon meaning: when used properly, the construct means “A or B or both.” In most areas of law, there simply is no compelling reason to avoid using and/or. The term is clear and concise. It derives criticism mainly from the inability of people to use it correctly. Pleadings, contracts, statutes, and patent claims all allow for a cogent use of and/or.

My problem with his argument: Not everyone gives “and/or” the meaning that Professor Robbins ascribes to it. Hence, ambiguity arises.

You can read the article here.


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