Plain language resources

Drawing together the best plain language resources from Australia and overseas into one location – research, guidelines and practical advice.

The foundation's list of plain language resources is broken up into activities to help you find what you are looking for. Search for a particular topic by keyword or filter by activity. The resources include a range of historical materials that were influential in the development of plain language, particularly in Australia.

Please note that, apart from Victoria Law Foundation resources, all resources are held on external websites.

We have developed a guide on how we have grouped the resources to make it easier for you to use them.

595 resources
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Research and journals

Style manual

This article is a book review written by Francesca Nassi on 'Un Manuale di Syile' by Alfredo Fioritto. The article summarises the basic recommendations of the book, which are to organise a document clearly, to use short sentences, and to use everyday words.

Keywords: book review, Un Manuale Di Stile, Style Manual, writing tips

Published: 2002

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Research and journals

Punctuation extra

This article tells of the author's experiences with integrating plain language into law firms and how plain language is still too often regarded as unprofessional. The author summarises the role of Plain Language Commission.

Keywords: Plain Language Commission

Published: 2002

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Research and journals

Plain English in law and commerce in South Africa

This article discusses the predominant use of English as the official language in South Africa, despite their being 11 official languages in total. The author notes that the lack of support from the legal profession, but points out that the growing national aim to produce documents in clearer and plainer writing.

Keywords: South Africa, English, language

Published: 2001

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Research and journals

Baring the nation's soul through plain language

This article discusses the plain language movement in South Africa which gained force in the 1980s. The author examines the two-step process in creating the South African Constitution which involved having an 'interim' and a 'final' Constitution. The 'interim' version's purpose was to provide the framework and 34 fundamental principles which the 'final' had to include.

Keywords: Constitution, South Africa, interim, final

Published: 2001

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Research and journals

Lucid layout

This article highlights the most important features of a good layout, for example page size, type size, column width and spacing. Two examples are given.

Keywords: layout, structure, design

Published: 2000

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Research and journals

Clarity in EC legislation

This article is a talk given by Martin Cutts to the European Commission's Transitional Unit. It summarises the need for plain language in EU legislation, potential barriers such as costs and time and in concluding provides four principles that should be followed.

Keywords: European Commission, legislation

Published: 2000

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Research and journals

Legislative document design in Connecticut

This article discusses Connecticut General Assembly's decision to adopt completely new style for legal documents to make them easier to read and to use.The author highlights the nine key design principles.

Keywords: Connecticut General Assembly, readability, legal drafting

Published: 2000

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Research and journals

"I could care less!"

This article discusses the meaning of the two phrases "I could care less" and "I could not care less", and whether they in fact have the same meaning.

Keywords: contradictory statements, care less

Published: 2000

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Research and journals

Writing for your reader

This article is a reflection of how plain language writing is used within the business sector. The author highlights writing skills, shorter sentences and having a costumer focuses as important factors.

Keywords: writing skills, customer focus, phrasing

Published: 2000

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Research and journals

Plain language at Clarica

This article examines how plain language has been implemented at Clarica, a Canadian financial services company. The author discusses the improved documents, skills training and coaching, the general financial services industry developments, and what was learned though the process.

Keywords: Canada, financial services, consumer demand

Published: 2000

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Organisations

Clarity

Clarity is an international association promoting plain legal language. It produces a journal twice a year, and, in partnership with various other organisations, a conference every two years. Past issues of their journal, Clarity, are available on their website.

Published: 1999

Research and journals

A novel approach to legal writing

This article outlines the structural approach taken by the author when writing a book or article. The author summarises background, writing techniques, the role of publishers and a six point plan.

Keywords: legal writing, writing techniques

Published: 1999

Research and journals

Putting jury instructions in plain English: The Minnesota Civil Jury Instruction Guides

This article comments on a study which finds that the complex language in jury instructions is likely to result in the jury not retaining all the information provided to them. The author summarises recommendations for reform, namely the need for oral and written instructions, using subheadings, personalising the parties involved and providing legal definitions.

Keywords: jury, instructions, structure, oral and written instrictions

Published: 1999

Research and journals

The comprehension of legal Hebrew

This article examines the need for plain language in Hebrew documents. The author highlights that there has been little academic writing and litigation in the courts regarding the need for documents to be readable and in plain language. Two examples are given, one being a mortgage contract and the other a travel insurance policy.

Keywords: Hebrew, readability, legal documents

Published: 1999

Pages

This page was last updated on August 17, 2016