Plain Language Association

Resolution on Plain Language

by the 1992 Conference of the Legal Writing Institute

950 Broadway Plaza
Tacoma, Washington 98402

At its biennial conference in 1992, the international association of legal writing instructors, the Legal Writing Institute, adopted a resolution endorsing plain language. The resolution was submitted to the 1990 conference; it was debated in the October 1991 issue of its newsletter, The Second Draft; it was the subject of a panel discussion at this conference.

The resolution reads:

  1. The way lawyers write has been a source of complaint about lawyers for more than four centuries.
  2. The language used by lawyers should agree with the common speech, unless there are reasons for a difference.
  3. Legalese is unnecessary and no more precise than plain language.
  4. Plain language is an important part of good legal writing.
  5. Plain language means language that is clear and readily understandable to the intended readers.
  6. To encourage the use of plain language, the Legal Writing Institute should try to identify members who would be willing to work with their bar associations to establish plain language committees like those in Michigan and Texas.
The Legal Writing Institute publishes a newsletter, Second Draft, and a journal, The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute.

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Last Updated 7-28-09