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Beyond all reasonable doubt: Bringing plain English to the law

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State Library Victoria - Conference Centre, Seminar Room 1

179 Latrobe Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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On meeting a stranger we have one fundamental question – are they friend or foe? And everything that follows is based on the decision we make.

For this reason, lawyers need to avoid interactions characterised by obfuscation and, therefore, confusion, leading to misunderstandings and misplaced client expectations and potentially an erosion of trust.

The rise of “web speak” and its social media offspring is democratising language. To stay relevant the legal profession can’t afford to excuse itself from communicating as clearly as possible. Lawyer speak is under increasing scrutiny for its relevance and clients’ acceptance. People want information, letters and advice they can understand and act on with confidence at first reading. They don’t want to leave a meeting with a lawyer baffled. They want a “level playing field” not a gulf separated by a “foreign” language that does not foster trust. If you accept that trust is the most valuable asset a lawyer can own, then the case for plain English is self-evident.

Drawing on his 15 years of experience as a plain English editor and writer, and calling upon examples of his recent work with leading Australian companies and law firms, Andrew Pegler will present the compelling case for plain English in the law.

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State Library Victoria - Conference Centre, Seminar Room 1

179 Latrobe Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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