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Legal Language and the Search for Clarity- Le langage juridique et la quête de clarté

Practice and Tools- Pratiques et Instruments

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Edited By Anne Wagner and Sophie Cacciaguidi-Fahy

This interdisciplinary collection with contributions in English and French explores how the various disciplines of law and linguistics appreciate and work towards improving the nature of clarity and obscurity in legal language. For the first time, it brings together legal academics and practitioners, jurilinguists and linguists from the common law and civil law with the specific aim to understand the complex nature, practice and tools of clarity and obscurity in legal drafting. Topics addressed include how the Clarity framework has been put into practice through the use of plainer language, better comprehensibility, readability and access to legal or administrative texts. In an attempt to reflect the more recent development of the Clarity-Obscurity debate, the editors have also focused on the use of specific instruments to respond to the problems raised by obscurity to improve clarity.
Cette collection interdisciplinaire offrant des contributions en anglais et en français, explore comment les diverses disciplines du droit et de la linguistique appréhendent et visent à perfectionner la nature de la clarté et de l’opacité du discours juridique. Cet ouvrage rassemblant pour la première fois, des universitaires et professionnels du droit, des jurilinguistes et linguistes de la common law and et du droit civil, propose de découvrir la nature complexe, les pratiques et outils de la clarté et de l’opacité utilisés en rédaction juridique. Les questions abordées examinent la mise en pratique de la clarté juridique au travers de l’utilisation de la langue courante, une meilleure lisibilité, compréhensibilité et accès aux textes juridiques et administratifs. Dans le but de refléter l’actualité du débat Clarté-Opacité du discours juridique, les éditrices se sont également concentrées sur l’utilisation des outils et méthodes les plus récents et utilisés pour résoudre les difficultés soulevées par l’opacité des langues du droit et ainsi améliorer la transparence du discours juridique.

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Preface 9

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Preface The idea for this monograph emerged from the 2nd International Clarity Conference held in Boulogne-sur-Mer (France) in July 2005, organized by Anne Wagner and Nicole Fernbach at the Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale. The conference, Clarity and Obscurity in Legal Language, had four major aims. The first was to review the current status of Clarity in the legal space. The second was to achieve a critical nexus between the disciplines of language and law with respect to the debates on clarity, obscurity, ambiguity and plain language pertinent to all areas of legal drafting, legal writing and legal interpretation. The third aim was to achieve an international perspective on these issues, drawing from the widest range possible of national legal and political contexts. The fourth was to put the Clarity concepts in practice by way of practical exercises delivered in Master Classes. The objective here was to explain and demonstrate how expert drafters address the different challenges of drafting assignments. The proceedings of these Master Classes will be published in the Journal Clarity (Numbers 54 and 55, 2006). In all respects, the conference was a success as key researchers, leading academics, scholars and legal and government professionals involved in addressing the issue of Clarity and Obscurity contributed enthusiastically to the debates. The internationalization of Clarity in the law was represented both by the variety of contexts discussed (common and civil law, linguistics, communication, information design, technology…) and by the participants themselves who came from no less than four continents...

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