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
Research and journals

Improving financial disclosure for individual investors

This article discusses improving financial disclosures for the benefit of individual investors. It argues that while investors have a responsibility to educate themselves, there is a correlative duty on the sellers to provide relevant information that is understandable despite its potential complexity.

Keywords: United States Securities and Exchange Commission, financial disclosure

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Legislative update: plain language and government accountability office regulation review

This article summarises how the House Government Reform Committee has reported two Bills relevant to regulatory policy, one to facilitate drafts being in plain language to encourage compliance and the other to bring the Government Accountability Office into the process of regulatory reviews. The two Acts discussed are the Regulation in Plain Language Act and the Truth in Regulating Act Amendment.

Keywords: House Government Reform Committee, Regulation in Plain Language Act, Truth in Regulating Act Amendment, regulatory policy

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Understanding barristers’ opinions: a discourse analytical perspective

This article highlights the importance of the writer knowing who their audience is, as the coherence of text is not only dependent on the how the text is written but also on how the text is interpreted by the reader. The author states the importance of rhetorical structure rules and reasoning.

Keywords: rhetorical structuring, understandability

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Plain language: a survey by Sydney law students

This article summarises a study completed by four senior law students at the University of Sydney. The study examined whether students, academics and legal practitioners in Sydney feel that there is an emphasis on plain language drafting at law school, and also whether any such emphasis (or lack of) has an impact on how law students would communicate with clients upon graduation.

Keywords: plain language drafting, Sydney, study, law students

Published: 2006

Research and journals

Plain language in legal agreements: is it safe?

This article is a speech by Lord Justice Rix on plain language in legal agreements and the likely rewards and risks. Lord Justice Rix speaks from the point of view of a judge, as opposed to a lawyer or client. 'Ten Commandments' for drafting contracts are discussed. The question and answer session that preceded the speech is also included.

Keywords: Lord Justice Rix, drafting, agreements

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

The importance of punctuation

This article highlights the impact that punctuation can have in legal documents. The author focuses on the comma, and provides examples of how incorrect use has caused confusion and other adverse consequences.

Keywords: comma, punctuation, legal documents

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Plain language in the UK

This article discusses the progress of the plain language movement in the UK in the context of solicitors, judges and the House of Lords.

Keywords: United Kingdom, plain language movement

Published: 2006

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Implementing plain language at Mallesons

This article discusses why Mallesons, a commercial firm in the Asia-Pacific region, decided to implement plain language. It discusses their training methods, how they deal with resistance to change and their future direction.

Keywords: plain language policy, law firm, Mallesons

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Plain language in the Senate of Chile

This article discusses the growing interest in giving national citizens more information on the activities, functions and duties of the Chilean parliament in a format that is accessible and easily understood. The author summarises the conference titled Transparency, Right, and Language held in Mexico on June 2005.

Keywords: Chile, plain language movement

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Plain language in Spain

This article summarises plain language in Spain over the past 25 years. It discusses how plain language is not just about simplification, as well as looking at future plans.

Keywords: Spain, plain language movement

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Plain language in the United States government

This article discusses the plain language initiatives within various United States agencies – including the Federal Aviation Administration; Federal Register; Food and Drug Administration; National Institutes of Health; Securities and Exchange Commission; Social Security Administration; and Veterans Benefits Administration – with particular reference to the philosophy that communication with the public be clear.

Keywords: plain language programs, United States, government

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Removing barriers to food stamp assistance - one complex form at a time

This article critiques the original complex documents required in order to be eligible for the US Food Stamp Program. The author describes the collaborative process of the Food and Nutrition Services, a division of the US Department of Agriculture, and Kleimann Communication Group to remedy these issues.

Keywords: United States Food Stamp Program, complex documents, rewriting

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Technical jargon: an approach, an idea and an offering

This article is comprised of three mini articles. The first suggests an approach to defining and tackling technical jargon. The second makes a suggestion for a new columns in Clarity: 'Lingustic lingo for lawyers' and 'Legal lingo for linguists'. The third makes comments on grammatical terms for the verb forms 'tense' and 'voice'.

Keywords: technical jargon, tense, voice

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Taking an overview: three rules of thumb

This article lists three rules of thumb to use when drafting documents. The first rule is to ask yourself how you would say this if you were not acting as a lawyer. The second rule is to write invisibly as style distracts from substance. The third rule is to not meander and to write in a logical order.

Keywords: drafting documents, tips, legal drafting

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Instructions for Queues Bill

This article sets the instructions for a legislative drafting task at Clarity's conference in Boulogne undertaken by Don Macpherson, Robin Dormer and Ben Piper. The panel experts were asked to draft 'The Queues Act 2005'.

Keywords: Queues Bill, legislative drafting

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Queues Bill 2005

This article is Don Macpherson's draft Queues Bill which was drafted as part of Clarity's conference in Boulogne.

Keywords: Queues Bill, legislative drafting, Don Macpherson

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Commentary and Queues Bill 2005

This article is Robin Dormer's comments on her draft Queues Bill which was drafted as part of Clarity's conference in Boulogne. The Draft Bill follows on page 10.

Keywords: Queues Bill, legislative drafting, Robin Dormer

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

Queues Bill 2005

This article is Ben Piper's draft Queues Bill which was drafted as part of Clarity's conference in Boulogne.

Keywords: Queues Bill, legislative drafting, Ben Piper

Published: 2006

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Research and journals

The founding of Clarity

This article summarises the author's personal attempts at plain language and punctuation in his professional career as a local government solicitor. The author recalls the foundation of Clarity on 8 June 1983.

Keywords: Clarity, founding

Published: 2005

Pages

This page was last updated on August 17, 2016