Legal drafting in English brochure/Tipps zu Rechtsenglisch von Eversheds

Eversheds have a number of interesting-looking publications on their website. I was drawn there by a tweet by David Turnbullrecommending A European Dictionary of Selected Legal Terms (PDF).

The Dictionary looks like this:

life insurance • assurance-vie • Lebensversicherung • assicurazione sulla vita • seguro de vida

limitation of actions • prescription • gesetzliche Verjährungsfristen • prescrizione • prescripción

liquidated claim (sum) • dette (créance) certaine • ziffernmässig bestimmte Forderung • credito liquido ed esigibile • reclamación de una cantidad precisa

loophole (in the law) • lacune (juridique) • Gesetzeslücke, Hintertürchen • scappatoia, via d’uscita (per eludere la legge) • laguna legal

But much more interesting is the PDF on Legal drafting in English. This is actually, unlike what it sounds like, a ragbag of useful observations on legal English.

For instance, there’s a list of legal English terms that have entered other languages, notes on Scottish, Australian, Canadian, Indian and Irish legal English, and criminal law terms with their approximate equivalents in UK, US, Canada and Australia (I missed the term perp walk – but I suppose it’s uniquely US). Particularly useful are hints on what British English won’t work in the USA (I do dislike whilst):

A word about “whilst” and “as”. In standard British English, “whilst” is often used to mean “during the time that”. This usage is very rare in the USA (Americans would use “while”). “Whilst” and “while” can also mean “although”, “despite the fact that”. When you have those meanings in mind, use “although” or “despite the fact that”. The conjunction “as” is often used in British English to mean “because”: Example: “As no other student seemed to know the answer, Mary spoke up and had the correct information.” The meaning will be clearer to more people if you use “because”, or “since”, rather than “as”.

And there are some references to other language too. There is a glossary of false friends and a bibliography. Well worth a look.

(In drafting advice from past masters, I wonder why they give Confucius in Chinese as K’ung Ch’iu – OK, that was his name, but it’s not that usual and not very pinyin either).

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