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Making legalese clear

Converting legalese into Plain English which is easier to understand, while keeping the legal message, is possible and doesn’t have to be that hard, either.

With the overall aim being to make the content shorter and to use simpler words, you can greatly improve a piece of legalese writing into something more readable.

Try swapping the phrases and words next time you are writing or editing any legal-based statements to see what a difference they make.

in respect of                                 about

due to                                             because

wherefore                                      why (or what)

herein                                             in (or within)

in the event                                   if

defaults in the payment             doesn’t pay

vendor                                             buyer or customer

three (3)                                         three

at this time                                     now

for the purpose of                         for (or to)

in order to                                      to

in point of fact                              in fact {or nothing is probably the best option!}

is required to                                 must

inasmuch as                                  because (or since)

making a determination             determining (or better, try ‘deciding’)

subsequent to the use of              after using

whether or not                               whether

with reference to                            regarding (or ‘about’ for real simplicity)

commence                                        start (or begin)

utilise                                                use

in light of the fact that                 because ( or the really short option ‘as’)

And remember that ‘include’ means ‘here is part of the full list’ so there is no reason to write ‘including but not limited to …’

Are there particular words or phrases in legalese (or other hard to read dialects) that stand out for you? What words would you use in stead, or do you need some suggestions of alternatives?

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