In August this year, a US Judge, Steven D. Merryday at the District Court, Tampa Division, Florida, rejected submissions by lawyers that exceeded the page limit, and in his Order even gave them a lesson in editing – to avoid “redundancy, verbosity, and legalism”!
Following my recent post on plain language in Portugal, and yesterday’s posts on the RELINE annual seminar, today I’d like to introduce you to Lene Rosenmeier, a lawyer, journalist and lecturer on clear writing, and Anne Kjærgaard from the Danish Language Council. In this 10-minute video, they talk about the plain language tradition in Denmark, and in particular about legal language. The tongue-in-cheek film editing is by Morten Rosenmeier. 🙂
The seminar mentioned in the video is going to be held in Danish. A summary may be provided in English at a later date.
Note: If anyone is interested in joining the RELINE Special Interest Group on plain language, the network is international, so those from other countries would be welcome. Contact: Lene Rosenmeier firstname.lastname@example.org
On the subject of plain language, I would like to invite contributions from people from other countries to post about their national situation. I am happy to present all opinions – whether for or against the simplification of legal language.
I watched this excellent TEDx talk some time ago, but mentioning it to someone recently reminded me that you might be interested. As you may know through the blog, my position on plain legal language is somewhat mixed – due to concerns about precision and expert interpretation. However, I certainly do agree with improving accessibility.
Sandra Fisher-Martins runs Português Claro, a training and consultancy firm that introduced plain language in Portugal and has been helping Portuguese companies and government agencies communicate clearly since 2007.
I don’t fully agree with plain language campaigns as regards legal documents – I guess I go along with those who say that the law has to be precise enough and should be interpreted by experts – i.e. lawyers and the judiciary rather than non-specialists – but I certainly think that a lot can be (and is being) done to make legal language more accessible where possible.