A couple of years ago, I got a request for explaining Korean civil execution system. The questioner had seen, in Korean dramas, a group of men barging into the other’s house sticking palm sized red stickers on furniture and other items around the house. He though that was unfamiliar to U.S. citizens and asked me about that. The below article was a short introduction essay on that issue, which was supposed to be contributed to a U.S.magazine:
In August this year, a US Judge, Steven D. Merryday at the District Court, Tampa Division, Florida, rejected submissions by lawyers that exceeded the page limit, and in his Order even gave them a lesson in editing – to avoid “redundancy, verbosity, and legalism”!
Below is an extract from Merryday’s Order, in which he reduces 125 words to 47:
Saint Mary’s is one of only five colleges in the country with a required Great Books curriculum. It’s a more open-ended approach, to be sure, but the College sees it as a training ground for everything that matters: the ability to think critically, listen to other perspectives, argue effectively and see the complexity in every issue.
SMC alumni often say that seminar prepared them for their lives and careers better than any other coursework during their four years in college.
As might be expected given that the translations were done by different translators, the approach does not appear to be consistent across all the documents or, in some cases, even within the documents.
US terminology is mixed with UK terminology. “Attorney” and “articles of incorporation” (US) are used for abogado and estatuos sociales on some occasions while “solicitor” and “articles of association” (UK) are used on others; “lawyer” is also used. Interestingly enough, the always troublesome procurador is translated both as “court representative” and “Court Clerk”. (I prefer the first one, although “court procedural representative/lawyer” might be better.)
Fool’s errand: 1. A foolish undertaking, especially one that is purposeless, fruitless, nonsensical or certain to fail. 2. Such an undertaking assigned as a prank. (Source: Wiktionary, open-content dictionary)
Contract language includes legal terms of art – words and phrases that have a specialized doctrinal meaning. Terms of art serve as shorthand for legal concepts, allowing those concepts to be articulated with a minimum of fuss.
But CMoS has broader relevance for contract drafters. Although it’s limited and stylized, the language of contracts is nevertheless a kind of writing. I’m not shy about coming up with new guidelines, but with respect to some usage issues, the analysis is the same whether you’re a contract drafter or are dealing with some other kind of prose.
If something has been authorized, then necessarily it was properly authorized. If the appropriate procedures hadn’t been followed, then no authorization would have been granted. Similarly, if, say, an imposter signs on behalf of a party, the contract won’t have been executed signed by that party.
That’s why Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage, at 301, says, with respect to duly authorized, “Because authorize denotes the giving of actual or official power, duly (i.e., ‘properly’) is usually unnecessary. Likewise, duly is almost always redundant in phrases such as duly signed.”
"If you refer in a contract to termination of this agreement and the contract uses the verb terminate in referring to both the end of the term and a party bringing the contract to an end, a reasonable reader would conclude that you’re referring to any form of termination. But if the term of a contract is stated using the noun term, as in The term of this agreement is three years from the date of this agreement, the fact that the contract doesn’t use the verb terminate in stating the term would give a disgruntled contract party room to argue that end of the term represents expiration of the contract rather than termination. So if the contract doesn’t use the verb terminate in stating the term, refer explicitly to both the end of the term and the parties bringing the contract to an end if you intend the provision to encompass both kinds of termination; also referring to any relevant sections of the contract would be clearer still. Being explicit in that manner would be beneficial even if the contract does use the verb terminate to express the end of the term—the reader wouldn’t have to check the terminology used in the termination provisions to understand what termination means."
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