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Nature of Legal Language (Specimens)

  • t. Lengthy and Complex Sentences- "The requirements that affidavits in onnosition to summary judgment motions must recite that the material facts relied upon are true is no mere formality" "You must never speculate to be true any insinuation suggested by a question asked a witness."

    • 2. Wordinessand S uperfl uitY-

',If the rent hereby resemed or any part thereof shall be in arrear and unpaidfor twenty-one

days afier becoming due and payabte (whether formally demanded or not) or if there shall be

any breach ofany coyenants or agreements on the part ofthe Lessee herein contained then

and in any such case it shall be lawfulfor the Lessor at an! time thereafter to re-enter upon

the demised premises or any part thereof in the name of the whole and immediately

thereupon this demise shall absolutely cease and determine but without preiudice to any

righl of action or remedy of the Lessor in respect of a'ny antecedent breach of any covenant

or agreemenl on the part of the Lessee herein contained,"Deleting the words in bold reduces

the word count while the meaning held out by the draft remains intact.

,,If the rent shall be is unpaid for twenty-one 2I days late (whether even if not formally

demanded or not) or if there shall be any breach of the tenant breal<s any other covenants on the part of the Lessee it shall be la,wful for the Lessor lcndlord may to re-enter the premises,

ending and immediately thereupon this demise shall cease lease, but without prejuCice to any

remedy ofthe Lessor landlord inrespect offor any antecedent earlier breach ofcovenant""

  • 3. Conjoined Phrases- "I give, devise and bequeath the rest, resitiue and remcinder


and void"-

or "null

  • 4. (Jnusual Sentence Syucture- The following is Rule 5 of Federal rules of civil procedure (U.S.) titled "serving and Filing Pleadings and Other Papers"

Semice: ll/hen Required- Except as otherwise provided in these rules, every order required by its terms to be semed, every pleading subsequent to the original complaint unless the court

otherwise orders because of numerous defendants, every paper relating lo discovery required

to be served upon a party

one which mo-y be heard

unless the court otherwise orders, every written motion other than

ex parte, and every written notice, appearance, demand, ofer of

judgment, designation of record on appeal, and similar paper shall be served ttpon each of the parties. No service need be made on parties in defautt for failure to appear except that pleadings asserting new or additional claims for relief against them shall be semed upon

them in the manner providedfor service of summons in Rule 4'

Use of multiple negatives- 'oFailure of recollection is a common experience and innocent

mlsrecollection is not rycommon"

that it is the kind of accident which ordinarily does not occur in the absence of

someone's negligence

  • 6. Impersonal Constructions

  • 7. Avoiding Pronouns

use of passive voice - charrow and charow found 35 passives in only 44 sentences in jury

The overuses of passives in legal language

is from American jurisprudence

and were then and there known by defendant

and the fact that he knew these were

Another difficult passive to be heard

thereon is intended by me and none must

and of

tr,rr. is, 2? lacked the agent.




to be

results in inappropriate focus. rnis exam"pre

aforesaid representations were false

false,,.Here the ioir, ,i*ra ue on oe ieftndant"

known uy trre J.irnount.

false, not upon repres;;;";,

and understood by jurors is

this one:'No *pi*rr

be Infened bY You"

Legal Archaisms- whatsoever, wheresoever, whomsoever, hereto, hereinafter, herebf ,


'imbibe' as an alternative of 'drink"

'inquire' rather than 'ask" 'peruse' instead of 'read',

'forthwith' as a substitution of 'right away' or 'at once' and so on

10. Jargon or argot-

! above-mentioned




i hereafter



I rhereafter

















ll. Use of synonyms, antonyms' homonyms


Action: not a physical movement but a lawsuit

Aggravation: In death penalty law, not merely somthing that annoys you' but a reason to sentence

someone to death

Brief: A noun refening to a type of regar document, not an adjective, and despite the name' virtually

never brief.

continuance: The posrponement of proceecrings untir a rater date; if a judge continues a hearing' it


Party: Someone who is a part of lawsuit, which despite the name is usually not much fun. In any

event, it often refers to a single person or entity, not a group


  • I Rest, residue and remainder

















Give, devise and bequeath

Aid and abet Due and owing

Fullfaith and credit

Goods and chattels

Ordered, adjudged and decreed

Mind and memory

Nulland void

Possession, custody and control

Right, title and interest

Save and except

True and correct

Make, publish and declare

Last Will and Testament

Able and willing

Escape and evade

  • 12. Use of Formal words- Oyez Ayez Oyez, ; I dc solemnly swear to speak the truth and the truth , the whoie truth and nothing but the truih, so help me god

  • 13. Legal Language as Sub language- Legal language has been called an argot, a dialect, a register, a style, and even a separate language. In fact, it is best described I'r'ith the relatively new term sublanguage. A subianguage has its ov"n specialized grammar, a limited subject matter, contains a unique vocabulary which is not commonly used


Specimen Citibank's old loan form- "In the event of default in the payment of this or any

other obligation or the performance or observance of any term or covenant contained

herein or in and note or any other contract or agreement evidencing or relating to any


or any collateral on the borrower's part to be performed or

observed;or the

undersigned borrower shall die; or any of the undersigned becomes insolvent or make

an assignment for the benefit of creditors; or a petition hall be filed by or against any of the


property of ihe undersigned now or

bankruptcy act; or any money securities or the

hereafter on deposit with or in the possession or

under the control ofthe bank shall be attached or become subject to restraint proceedings

oranyorderor process of any court; or the bank shalldeem itself to be insecure, then and in


such event, the bank shall have a right(at its option), without demand or notice of any

part of the obligations to be immediately due anci


kind, to declare all or any

and the bank shall have

the right to exercise all the rights and remedies available to a

secured party upon default under the uniform commercial code( the "code")in effect in

new york at the time and such other rights and remedies as may otherwise be provided by