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Lawyers and legislators are renowned for using language that is old-fashioned, overly formal and difficult to understand. This type of language is called 'legalese' and in many developed countries there is a push ( = social encouragement) for the legal profession to use plain language that is easier for people to understand.


Read the paragraph about legalese and fill the gaps with the words below (note: there are two extra words)

characteristics / drafting / problems / term / specialized / historically

style / conversation / unnecessary / comprehend / argue / misundertanding

Legalese, is a 1______ associated with a traditional style of legal writing that is part of the 2_______ discourse of lawyers: it is communication that lay readers cannot readily 3________. This term describes legal writing which may be cluttered, wordy, indirect, and may include 4_________ technical words or phrases. 5________ , legalese is language a lawyer might use in 6_________ a contract or a pleading but would not use in ordinary 7________. For this reason, the traditional 8________ of legal writing has been labeled reader-unfriendly. Proponents of plain language 9_______ that legal "writing style should not vary from task to task or audience to audience; whatever lawyers write must be Clear, Correct, Concise, and Complete. These 4 Cs describe the fundamental 10_______ of good legal writing style.

Remember try and identify the parts of speech needed in each gap, for example:

  • gap 1 is a single countable noun because there is the article 'a' before the gap

  • gap 10 is a noun because there is the article 'the'+adjective before the gap

When you are ready, enter your answers in the sheet below.


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