A colleague today received some translations as reference material and was surprised to see they capitalized ‘claimant’ and ‘defendant’. Is this correct? I don’t do it myself, but I thought it was unnecessary rather than wrong.

It is definitely common in translations into English done in Germany. Is it more American?

In the BlueBook and Ritter’s Style Guide I found information about capitalization / upper case, but not this point. But Googling a combination of words such as “the defendant” “seeks an order” did get some American and UK ghits that looked correct. “The claimant” will narrow it down to the UK more or less (even in inverted commas, I don’t think Google is case-sensitive). I suspect, therefore, that it has at least become acceptable.

Or has anyone any evidence to add here?

Incidentally, last week I learnt the term camel case, which refers to words like WordPerfect that suddenly have a capital letter, like a hump, in the middle. The New York Times even had a rant against it in November.

LATER NOTE: Adrian says that all statements of case (pleadings) in England and Wales always capitalize the parties (by capitalize I mean initial capital – I don’t think ALL CAPITALS is good style). He recommends the Bar Manual on Drafting. Despite heavy recommendation I refuse to buy it without taking a look!

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