Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cleardocs founder writes article on plain language in US law journal

Belinda Thalakada, Cleardocs Support

The Cleardocs founder, and international plain language expert, Christopher Balmford, recently had an article on plain language published in the Michigan Bar Journal in the US.

The article covers developments in the Australian plain-language world, particularly the law. There’s a nice quote from the Australian Federal Court judge Justice Margaret Stone on some bad documents from Macquarie Bank Limited. The quote goes like this:

“It is difficult to understand how the imprecision and ambiguity of the documentation could have escaped the scrutiny of competent and sophisticated parties and their advisers.”
Leveraged Equities Ltd v Goodridge, 2011 FCAFC 3, 152 (Fed Ct. Austrl 2011), available at <>.

In the article, Christopher argues that lawyers need to start arguing for plain language on the grounds that traditional legal drafting is legally risky. That approach would be an “about face” for the profession −­ after all, lawyers have traditionally argued against plain language for that very same reason.

Christopher’s plain-language approach to writing legal and related documents underpins the Cleardocs brand values of “clarity | simplicity | ease of use”.

Happily, our customers often tell us on the helpline and in emails about how easy it is to use Cleardocs, and about how clear and comprehensive our products and services are. 

We’re proud of our commitment to plain language, and of how that commitment works for our customers.

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