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
Clarity logo
Research and journals

Interpretation of Private Documents Bill

This article is a further revision of Clarity's draft Interpretation of Private Documents Bill, to be submitted to parliament (first featured in journal no. 12). This version incorporates suggestions and critiques from Clarity members.

Keywords: Interpretation of Private Documents Bill, draft, revision

Published: 1989

Research and journals

Non-sexist writing

This article discusses the use of gender-specific terms in writing such as 'he', 'Ms' and 'chairperson'. The article provides gender-neutral examples.

Keywords: gender neutral, writing, examples

Published: 1989

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Research and journals

Cutting off the tags

This article questions why lawyers insist on using Latin legal phrases. It also provides plain language alternatives to commonly used Latin legal phrases.

Keywords: Latin, legal phrases, lawyers

Published: 1989

Research and journals

Letters: The Interpretation Bill

In response to Clarity's proposed Interpretation of Private Documents Bill in journal no. 12, these letters are responses from Clarity members critiquing the draft bill.

Keywords: Interpretation of Private Documents Bill, critique

Published: 1989

Research and journals

News from overseas

This article discusses the movement in Australia and New Zealand towards plain language in the legal profession in the 1980's.

Keywords: Australia, New Zealand, plain language movement

Published: 1989

Research and journals

Plain English in New York: 10 years on

This article looks at the impact of the plain language law introduced in New York in 1978, and recounts a symposium held on the ten year anniversary of its introduction. The article also considers whether the introduction of plain language laws would be possible in England and Wales.

Keywords: plain language law, New York

Published: 1989

Research and journals

The 'if'- trap in wills

The articles discusses the problems that can arise when not using plain language in wills. The articles looks specifically at the use of 'if', 'unless', 'provided that' or 'on condition that' in wills.

Keywords: wills, legal documents

Published: 1989

Research and journals

Clarity re-drafting competition

This article provides some of the responses Clarity received in relation to a re-drafting competition. It contains excellent examples of the different ways plain language can be used to de-mystify lease clauses.

Keywords: legal documents, lease, critique, re-drafting

Published: 1987

Research and journals

Legislation, legal rights and plain English (Discussion Paper No. 1)

A preliminary discussion paper on the importance on the use of plain English/language in the legal system in Victoria, Australia. This discussion paper was a precursor to the development of two reports by the commission on the subject, released in 1990. The reports make a strong case for plain language and have been widely cited. The work of the commission was included as one of the 40 highlights of plain language in Joe Kimble's book Writing for dollars, writing to please.

Published: 1986

Research and journals

Residential conveyancing

This article notes how the use of plain language can benefit lawyers and clients alike by ensuring clear information is provided and understood. It also provides examples of draft conveyancing documents using plain language.

Keywords: clear information, legal documents, conveyancing

Published: 1986

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Research and journals

Will drafting

This article provides a plain language critique of a template will and offers alternative wording to increase clarity.

Keywords: will, critique

Published: 1985

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Research and journals

Small print

The article provides a brief overview of a report on the use of plain language in consumer contracts. It provides alternative ways of communicating generic legal phrases often used in hire purchase agreements.

Keywords: consumer contracts, legal documents

Published: 1983

Research and journals

Uncertainty in stylised archiasms

This article looks at generic phrases such as 'from time to time', 'provided that', 'in respect of' and 'subject to' and provides alternative ways of communicating the same concepts in legal documents.

Keywords: legal documents, writing, from time to time, provided that, in respect of, subject to

Published: 1983

Research and journals

Clarity (journal)

The journal of Clarity, the international association promoting plain legal language. The journal is published twice a year.

Published: 1982

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Research and journals

Multilayering in plain language texts

This article discusses how language materials can have huge audiences and must deal with core and basic issues as well as extended issues which are more complex. The article focuses on how to use plain language for these more complex issues.

Keywords: multi-layered text, text boxes

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Research and journals

European Law Conference - a promising start

This article takes a look at the European Law Conference which took place from 10-11 June 2001. The paper the four main issues raised ar the conference; the need to make EU legislation clearer, the will to do this, the possibility of doing this and lastly rebuts arguments against plain language.

Keywords: European Law Conference

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This page was last updated on August 17, 2016