Thanks to Richard Delaney, of City University, London and his Twitter feed, I have just discovered a fantastic resource produced by Eversheds (an international law firm headquartered in London, with 45 offices in 28 countries).
The 140-page guide, entitled Legal Drafting in English: The big picture on the small print, downloadable in PDF form free of charge, is a mine of information.
The authors describe it as follows: “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 a legal context. Instead, it is a pioneering attempt to provide some practical assistance to busy lawyers around the world whose native language is not English but who, in the course of their daily work, need to read, write, negotiate and converse in ‘legal English’.”
The layout is very pleasant, and the guide is full of useful nuggets such as: colorful legal phrases, new legal concepts, a bluffer’s guide to legal terms around the globe, ambiguities, a large section on false friends and another on ‘similar words’, drafting tips, as well as a useful bibliography.
It goes without saying that the guide will also be invaluable to translators, as well as to lawyers working internationally.