Legal writing and gobbledygook

 

Sir, – It was heartening to hear the Attorney General urge lawyers to drop legal gobbledygook (News, April 9th). We could learn from other countries, such as Norway, where law students are taught how to write in plain English as part of their undergraduate training.

We would advise all those dealing with the public to communicate clearly in plain English for two reasons. First, it makes good business sense. Clear information reduces mistakes and complaints, and saves you time and money. Secondly, it’s effective. When you use plain English more people can understand your information and make informed decisions.

And, if you need a third reason, developments like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and consumer protection law in Ireland emphasise plain English. People are becoming more aware of their rights and if communication is unclear they are increasingly likely to take legal action.

Plain English is not about dumbing down. It’s about communicating directly to the intended reader or listener in language they understand, whether they are specialists, colleagues or members of the public.

Many organisations in Ireland are making great efforts to communicate clearly with their clients and customers, but more can and should be done. – Yours, etc,

Dr INEZ BAILEY,

Chief Executive,

National Adult

Literacy Agency,

Sandford Lodge,

Sandford Close, Dublin 6.