RE: Legal English (was RE: Using M-dash and N-dash?)

Subject: RE: Legal English (was RE: Using M-dash and N-dash?)
From: Mailing List <mlist -at- ca -dot- rainbow -dot- com>
To: "'Downing, David'" <DavidDowning -at- Users -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 15:16:13 -0500

Downing, David [mailto:DavidDowning -at- Users -dot- com] said:
> One thing that helps, to some extent, is understanding the overall
> rationale for legal English. In a legal document, everything must be
> made 100% explicit. I'm sure that many people on this list
> have been on
> both ends of the kind of dispute that involves some point that one
> person thinks is crystal clear and the other person feels was
> never even
> addressed. Often, it's a matter of the point never being explicitly
> stated, then not being inferred as intended. Or one person
> can assume a
> point is self-evident, when it isn't self-evident to the other person.
> Or both people can have opposing ideas of what should be self-evident.
> In legal matters, you can't say, "But you KNOW what I MEANT." Such
> matters tend to be decided in favor of the person who says,
> "You didn't
> SAY [whatever], so I can't be held responsible for knowing
> and acting on
> it." Legal documents must be written in such a way as to
> guarantee that
> everything you want someone to know and act on is spelled out.

What of the notion, cited by many judges, to the embarrassment
and detriment of one party or another, of the doctrine of the
reasonable man? They refer to what a reasonable and prudent
person may be deemed to have believed/known/expected/done in
a given situation. The.... dare I say it.... _implication_ is
that your definition of "reasonable and prudent" had better
agree with the judge's.


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