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

Noise Bill instructions and comments

This article contains instructions for a Noise Bill that were written as part of a Clarity conference in order to see how three panel members write a bill from scratch and also revise part of a rule. The article also contains the author's comments on the instructions.

Keywords: legislative drafting, Noise Bill

Published: 2005

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Research and journals

Comments on draft Bills

This article analyses three draft Bills that can be found in Clarity no. 54. The author makes comments on the three attempts at drafting the legislation, including the authors' understanding of the purpose, the desired results of the client, problems and questions raised and the overall structure of each draft.

Keywords: draft legislation, analysis

Published: 2005

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Research and journals

Plain language at the Regulator

This article summarised the work to achieve plain language at the British Columbia Securities Commission. The article also discusses the plans for plain language in the future.

Keywords: British Columbia Securities Commission, regulation

Published: 2005

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Research and journals

How the European Commission drafts legislation in 20 languages

This article provides three steps as to how the European Commission drafts legislation into their 20 official languages. The article summarises the factors taken into account during this process, such as multilingualism, multiculturalism and negotiated law, and the summarises the standards to which the European Commission is judged.

Keywords: European Commission, translation, multiligualism

Published: 2005

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Research and journals

Just fix the English

This article highlights some of the difficulties non-native English lawyers may have writing in English. Notably, these include learner errors, 'signature' errors such as transferring language patterns not belonging to English, misjudged cultural assumptions, problems with flow and tone, proofreading errors and poor writing styles.

Keywords: non-native English speakers, lawyers

Published: 2005

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Research and journals

Progetto Chiaro! and the plain language movement in Italy

This article discusses the movement towards plain language in Italy since 1994. The article mainly discusses the push towards the simplification of administrative language, and ten rules used for writing texts. The author draws comparisons to English-speaking nations, such as the UK, USA and Australia, throughout.

Keywords: Italy, Progetto Chiaro, legal language

Published: 2005

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Research and journals

Citizen's Language: Plain language in Mexico

This article examines the system employed by Mexico for adopting plain language procedures. The author summarises the conference and workshop held, with 800-900 people and 30 people attending respectively, as well as the 48 page manual outlining the aim, writing processes and style guide.

Keywords: Mexico, conference

Published: 2005

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Research and journals

Plain language in Spain

This article summarises the history of the inherent styles of the Spanish languages, and the democratic aims for the future.

Keywords: Spain, plain language movement

Published: 2005

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Research and journals

Plain English in Asia

This article discusses how the plain English movement has not yet gained a strong presence in many Asian countries, such as India, China, Singapore and Hong Kong. This is despite various union and state governments and judiciary conducting their business in English. The author briefly mentions recommendations and drafting guidelines in support.

Keywords: Asia

Published: 2005

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Research and journals

Legal English in Japan: a translator's perspective

This article describes how there is not such a big difference between ordinary and legal Japanese as there is in English. However, as the author states, there is a trend for translation from Japanese to English legal text to be authoritative and effectively mandating legalese. The author concludes by providing tips for the future.

Keywords: Japanese, translation, English

Published: 2005

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Research and journals

ASD simplified technical English

This article discusses the importance of clear English in the aerospace industry. The article summarises how the official ASD Simplified Technical English language system works, including the standards, compliance and globalisation of the system.

Keywords: ASD Simplified Technical English, ASD-STE100, controlled language

Published: 2005

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Research and journals

A forensic test of a Pennsylvanian contract

This article aims to tests the compliance of a construction contract with the guidelines set out in the Pennsylvanian Statues Trade and Commence (Title 73) Plain Language Consumer Contract Act (the Plain Language Act). The author examines the readability guidelines and summarises the violations found.

Keywords: Pennsylvania, the Plain Language Act, guidelines

Published: 2005

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Research and journals

Plain language in New Zealand: the drafting of legislation

This article highlights the changes that have occurred with regards to the drafting of legislation over 15 years in New Zealand. Five major changes are listed; better design, removal of long titles, use of active and present tense, removal of unnecessary words and clear initial statements about the legislation such as the name, date of assent and date of commencement.

Keywords: New Zealand, legislative drafting, accessibility

Published: 2004

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This page was last updated on August 17, 2016