Why Is Legal Language so Complex

Every human being can defend himself to express himself because of the natural reason within him. Simplifying legal words and language can give them more power of assimilation, liberalization and personal sophistication to protect and shape their rights, which are named and unnamed, in order to strengthen the welfare society. It was essential to get to market quickly. The team`s business strategy was solid, but when they began implementing it, they ran into an obstacle: the complexity of the contracts allowed negotiations to continue for months and frustrated potential customers. Instead of looking for new opportunities, opening new business, and providing the best digital solutions, the sales team spent most of their time discussing archaic contract language. The answers to these questions highlight certain linguistic aspects used in legal doctrine. Vocabulary, syntax and semantics make the language of law different. The vocabulary used in legal writings is heavily borrowed from Latin and French, as Latin was the language of administration and law in England and French was the language of the court. It`s easy to be „clear“ in everyday language because much of our communication is implicit. Learning to write like a lawyer was harder than expected. It took over a month to create the first version. The original version was only five pages long, much shorter than existing contracts. Most importantly, it was a clear and understandable document.

It did not contain a single „so far“, „where“ or „immediately“. There were no superfluous introductory considerations or legalese. Legal terms, which had historically become complicated in contracts, were explained in simple terms. The sentences were short and written in an active voice. We have eliminated all definitions. The original design was really a significant departure from the standard. After reading it, a GE Aviation attorney commented, „It`s a bit heartbreaking because it`s so user-friendly and written simply.“ She was not alone in her reaction. Everyone who read it – lawyers and non-lawyers alike – was surprised by its simplicity. The legal team supporting the newly formed company realized it had to act. The team proposed converting the seven contract formats into a single contract in plain language.

Break down long sentences into shorter sentences with simpler language. What do you call a dense and overly long contract loaded with legalese that is virtually impossible for a non-lawyer to understand? The status quo. For the most part, contracts used in business are long, poorly structured and full of unnecessary and incomprehensible language. To be clear, I`m not talking about „simplified“ agreements with fewer words, better titles, and cleaner fonts. I am talking about a contract that a high school student could understand without context or explanation. As Robert Eagleson, an expert on the subject, put it, plain language „gets the message across with the greatest ease.“ „This is the first time someone has been able to say what makes legal language difficult to understand. They used to speculate, and maybe that`s why that hasn`t changed,“ Gibson says. „If people know what makes it difficult to understand, then maybe they can work to fix it.“ The limitation of liability clause has been reduced from more than 140 words in capital letters to only 66 words of plain text. The indemnity clause now consists of a sentence of 41 words, instead of more than 150. The word „compensation“ – which is itself legal in German – is not even used. While at Harvard Law School, Martinez became interested in how lawyers and judges use language to communicate.

He enrolled in an MIT linguistics course taught by Gibson, and after completing his law degree, he joined Gibson`s lab as a graduate student. After analyzing thousands of legal contracts and comparing them to other types of texts, the researchers found that lawyers often insert long definitions in the middle of sentences. Linguists have already shown that this type of structure, known as the „integration center,“ makes the text much more difficult to understand. This may seem far-fetched. However, I believe it is indeed possible – as evidenced by more than three years of efforts to promote simple language contracts in GE Aviation`s digital services business. Since the launch of this initiative in 2014, this entity has signed more than 100 such contracts. These agreements took 60% less time than their previous legally loaded versions. Some customers have even signed contracts in plain language without a single change. Customer feedback was consistently positive, and there was not a single dispute between customers about the wording of a plain language contract.

Language-only contracts are beginning to spread within GE. GE Healthcare has launched an initiative in plain language. GE`s additive manufacturing business implemented its first plaintext contract in 2017. The initial response from clients has been positive, and the general counsel and unit leadership are eager to make plain language the standard approach. However, the infinite length of the sentence is not the only reason for the complexity of the legal structure of sentences. Several efforts have been made to reduce this complexity of syntax. The use of punctuation marks was such an effort. When the law was written or codified in Latin in England, the Greek way of indicating pauses with punctuation marks was not followed. „It`s no secret that legal language is very difficult to understand.