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For the UC de Temuco by Ieva Zebryte

Introduction to Legal English.


Qs reading week 1: 1. What other languages influences Legal English in the course of history? 2. What makes English and Legal English difficult? 3. What makes English difficult for you? Q reading week 2: Which Legal English US or UK is more suitable for legal texts of Chilean origin?
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Overview
1. Potential areas of improvement:

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

1.1 Articles 1.2 Prepositions 1.3 Capitalization 1.4 Problem Words and Phrases 1.5 Constantly Litigated Words & Phrases Dates & Time Numbers & Currency Punctuation Gender Neutral Language Singular & Plural
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1.1 Articles (a, an, the)


A is used when mentioning something for the first time
e.g. A client walked into the office.

An is used in the same situation but only where the following word begins with a vowel
e.g. An accountant walked into the office.

The is used when referring to something already mentioned before:


e.g. The client and accountant work at Megacorp Ltd.
or when referring to something that is the only one of its kind e.g. The Supreme Court of Finland or when referring to something in a general rather than specific way e.g. The computer has changed our firm practice.

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1.1 Articles
Do not use articles when a sentence links two parallel adjectival phrases.
e.g. The judge ruled that Megacorp Ltd. was a validly registered and [an] existing company.

Do not use articles when using certain abstract nouns in a general sense.
e.g. In the event of [a] conflict between the definitions given in Appendix 1 and the definitions...

Do not precede conflict with a unless referring to a specific conflict as in:


e.g. The opposing parties are involved in a conflict which has lasted 3 years.

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1.2 Prepositions (to, in, from, etc.)


Prepositions normally come before a noun or pronoun and give information about how, when or where something has happened. No clear rules but common usage provides some guidance: The parties to this agreement The price list set out in Schedule 1 The agreement may be terminated by notice. He was charged with fraud. The goods must be delivered to the purchaser An agreement between the buyer and seller

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1.2 Prepositions: common errors


Use of preposition where a verb form is required e.g. [be with flu] (estar con resfrio) should be have the flu Use of an incorrect preposition e.g. [in the beach] (en la playa) should be on/at the beach Use of an incorrect verb form e.g. [close the television] (sulje televisio) should be turn off the television
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1.2 Prepositions: dates


Within/In The goods must be delivered within 7 days. The goods must be delivered in 7 days. within = delivery anytime up to 7th day in = may imply delivery only on 7th day From/As from Where a contract is effective from or as from a particular date, that contract will be effective the day after. e.g. A contract effective from 17 September 2007 will only take effect on 18 September 2007. By e.g. A notice to file an appeal by 1 June 2007 will give the appellant the right to file until midnight on 1 June 2007. The statement would be incorrect if the drafter wanted the appeal to be filed on 31 May 2007. On if a period of time is expressed to begin on a certain day, that particular day is included. e.g. A lease which is to start on 1 August 2006 will begin on that day, i.e. 1 August 2006.

1.2 Prepositions: dates


Between If time is expressed as between two dates, the dates mentioned will not be included. e.g. If a contract is effective between 1 April 2004 and 1 November 2006 it does not include 1 April or 1 November. Until the use of until should be avoided as it may be unclear. e.g. The agreement continues until 1 August 2006? Before Before shortly is incorrect to express time. Simply, shortly is preferred. e.g. The contract will be sent by post shortly.

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1.2 Prepositions: correspondence


Appended to use when referring to a document which is included as an Appendix or otherwise incorporated into the document. Attached to use when referring to an attachment to an email or when referring to a separate document attached to a letter. Enclosed with use when referring to a document which is included inside a parcel or envelope but is not affixed.
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1.3 Capitalization
Excessive Capitalization The word your may be capitalized as [Your] in the middle of a sentence: e.g. The contract had [Y]our name on it. This is permissible in English You - usted but is incorrect in Spanish. As a rough rule, capital letters should be used only when beginning a sentence (This is our office) or when giving proper names (Ieva Zebryte from Vilnius, Lithuania).

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1.3 Capitalization
Lack of Capitalization The first letter of every important word (e.g. nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs) in headings and titles may be capitalized in English, whereas Spanish tends not to capitalize headings. e.g. The Basics of Drafting a Shareholders Agreement By tradition, legal English also capitalizes:
legislation or names of laws or acts, defined terms in a contract, and titles of contracts and agreements.
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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Direct translations of legal terminology may be problematic. e.g. derecho de propiedad inmaterial is correctly translated as intellectual property law and not immaterial property rights. Unfortunately, immaterial means unimportant under the circumstances or irrelevant, so particular care should be given when using this term.
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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


In Spanish, bienvenidos may be used as a single word to indicate that you are welcome to attend or go to an event or place. In English, the single word Welcome lacks the same precise meaning and is usually used with a pronoun(s). Other alternatives may be: Everyone is welcome Welcome to all Welcome Megacorp investors We look forward to seeing you

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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Draft/Prepare Draft - (1)(v.) to write or compose a legal document, esp. a contract, (2)(n.) a preliminary version, (3) (n.) Unconditional written order by one person directing another person to pay money to a third person (a check is the most common example). e.g. Could you draft a new Confidentiality Agreement? Prepare (v.) - to compose a legal or non-legal document. e.g. Please prepare a speech for presentation to the Megacorp Board.
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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Damage/damages Damage (n.) - loss or injury to person or property. Damages (n.) money claimed by, or ordered to be paid to, a person as compensation for loss or injury. e.g. The extensive damage to the office was the reason the judge awarded significant damages to Megacorp Ltd. Percent/per cent/% Percent (Am. Eng.) is preferred to per cent (Br. Eng.) % is only used in informal communication and technical texts.

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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Share buyback Compre de propias acciones is often translated awkwardly as own shares purchase. The commonly used term is share buyback or alternately share repurchase. e.g. Megacorp Ltd. implemented a share buyback plan.
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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Concept a general or abstract thought, notion or idea e.g. The concept of document management is new to the firm. When something takes a more concrete or specific form concept is generally not used in English. Good alternatives to concept are plan, strategy, proposal or initiative. e.g. The document management initiative was successful.
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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


inter alia The Latin term inter alia (entre otras [cosas]), which is frequently used in legal English, means among other things. e.g. The Megacorp Ltd. CEO was convicted for inter alia, fraud and insider trading. If you wish to substitute inter alia for another phrase, among others is incorrect and you must use the phrase among other things. e.g. The Megacorp Ltd. CEO was convicted for among other things, fraud and insider trading.

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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Advice/advise Advice (n.) guidance or recommendation about future action e.g. Friends always ask her advice.

Advise (v.) chiefly means to recommend a course of action e.g. The lawyer advised her client to accept the offer.

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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Principle/principal Principle (n.) usually means a truth or general law used as the basis for something e.g. The general principles of law state that

Principal (adj.) usually means main or most important e.g. The lawyers principal argument was.

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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Construe / Construct
Construe (v.) assign a meaning to (usually in a judgment) e.g. How did the court construe the facts in R. v. Megacorp Ltd.? Construct - (1) (v.) make or create (2) (n.) abstract or general idea e.g. She constructed her argument based on the case file.
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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Claimant / Respondent Claimant: one who asserts a right or demand Respondent: party against whom (i) an appeal is taken (ii) a motion or petition is filed. Generally, the defendant in any equity proceeding.

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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Plaintiff / Defendant Plaintiff: the party who brings a civil suit in a court of law Defendant: the party against whom a civil suit is filed in a court of law Generally, Plaintiff/Defendant is used in any civil proceedings in a court of law and Claimant/Respondent is used in all other instances, e.g. in arbitrations and any other ADR processes.
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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Interest

Interest (n.) - the amount owed to a lender in return for the use of borrowed money (el dividendo, el interes). singular and not plural in almost all cases. e.g. All shareholders must jointly pay interest on the loan.

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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Security/Securities Security (n.) - collateral given or pledged to guarantee the fulfillment of an obligation. e.g. Megacorp pledged their office as security for the loan. Securities (n.) - An instrument that evidences the holders ownership rights in a firm (e.g. a stock), the holders creditor relationship with a firm or government (e.g. a bond) or the holders other rights (e.g. an option). e.g. Stocks, bonds and options are all examples of securities.

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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Deeming Common Law contracts often use the term deem to treat something in a contract as being something else. e.g. Notice shall be deemed served 72 hours after having been posted. Care should be taken not to use deemed merely to give a legal feel to the text. e.g. Section 32 of this agreement shall be deemed to apply to this Agreement. should be Section 32 shall apply to this Agreement.

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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


Conclusion of a Contract Rescission: A partys unilateral unmaking of a contract for a legally sufficient reason, such as a material breach. Voidable: contract which is capable of being affirmed or rejected at the option of one of the parties. Void: contract which has no legal effect whatsoever; null. Revocation: withdrawal of an offer by the offeror. Termination: the act of ending a contract, e.g. termination of conditional contract the act of putting an end to all unperformed portions of a conditional contract Lapse: the termination of a right or privilege (in a contract) because of a failure to exercise it within time or because a contingency has or has not occurred. Discharge: (1) release of a party from an obligation in a contract, (2) satisfaction of the contract, (3) an obligation in a contract.

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1.4 Problem Words and Phrases


References to legislation Legislation is generally referred to by chapters and sections. e.g. Chapter 6, section 16(1) of the Consumer Protection Act (38/1978, as amended) states that... Less recognized Spanish legislation should also include the name of the legislation in Spanish: e.g. Chapter 3, section 5(1) of the Framework Law on Environment (19300/1994, as amended) (BASES GENERALES DEL MEDIO AMBIENTE)
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2. Dates & Time


Dates 1 April 2006 (UK English) April 1, 2006 (US English) Roschier standard to use UK English format for all dates. Continental numerical date format (dd/mm/yyyy) may be confusing. Preferable to write dates in words as above. Time The international standard for time is 24-hour, with a colon (:) as a separator (e.g. 13:23).
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3. Numbers & Currency


Use a period (.) instead of a comma (,) to indicate a decimal place holder (e.g. 16.9%) when writing in English. Amounts of currency should always be spelt out in legal documents. e.g. one million euro and seven cents (1 000 000.07 EUR) The currency symbol goes before the number but the currency name goes behind. e.g. 1.07 or 1.07 EUR Note above, that the international standard for large currency amounts is to simply use a space to indicate (000s) and not a period (.) or comma (,). Four thousand_ / four hundred_ (not four thousands / four hundreds)

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4. Punctuation
Hyphen (- or dash) Finnish tends to use the hyphen more than English. Do not use a hyphen when words appear to be in a regular order, i.e. there is no ambiguity in sense or sound (e.g. real estate, patent right). Except after the short prefixes co, -de, -pre, -pro and re which are generally printed solid, a hyphen is used to avoid doubling a vowel or tripling a consonant (e.g. cooperation, preexisting, semi-independent, anti-inflation) Use a hyphen between words, or abbreviations and words combined to form a unit modifier immediately preceding the word modified (e.g. no-par-value stock, lump-sum payment, collective-bargaining clause).

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4. Punctuation
Exclamation Mark (!) Use exclamation marks very sparingly. Exclamation marks are very rarely used in legal correspondence and generally not used in legal documents.

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4. Punctuation
Use a period instead of a comma to indicate a decimal place holder (e.g. 16.9%). Use a space to indicate large currency amounts (000s) and not a period (.) or comma (,). Commas should be used (1) to separate items in a list, (2) to separate coordinated clauses, (3) to mark beginning and end of a subclause, (4) after an introductory clause, (5) to avoid ambiguity, (6) introduction of direct speech and (7) between adjectives which each qualify a noun in the same way.
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4. Punctuation
Use a period (.) at the end of the abbreviation for section (e.g. s. 32). Items in a bulleted list are separated by a semicolon (;). Quotation marks () are used to define terms e.g. Johan Johansson (the Claimant) Note: Do not include the as part of the defined term.

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5. Gender Neutral Language


Increasingly common to write in gender neutral language. Demonstrates clear commitment to equality, as well as precision in writing. Consider the following to ensure gender neutral language:
replace he with he/she Use gender neutral pronouns like they, I, me, we, them, their In lengthy documents, consider use of an interpretation clause in the agreement Use Chair instead of Chairman, business executive/businessman, policeman/police officer, salesman/sales representative

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6. Singular & Plural


Singular and Plural The subject and verb of every clause must both be singular or both be plural. 2 rules:
1. Two subjects connected by and require a plural verb.

e.g. The lawyers and the judge have gone to the office. 2. Two singular subjects connected by or remain singular: e.g. Either Smith or Jones is the most likely suspect. Latin terms Most Latin phrases are singular (e.g. bona fide, de facto, ex parte, prima facie, etc.) Singular and plural of Latin nouns - medium /media, crisis/crises, criterion/criteria, datum/data, phenomenon/phenomena, alumnus/alumni (male), alumna/alumnae (female) Fora (plural) and forums (plural) are both acceptable.

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