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Principles of “Good” Legislative Drafting

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Principles of “Good” Legislative Drafting

  1. Never use one word where you can use a larger number of others to achieve the same meaning. 
  2.  Never use a short word where more elaborate terminology can be substituted. 
  3.  Never use a simple statement where the same proposition can be propounded that will culminate in the same connotation. 
  4.  Never use direct language when the same proposition can be expounded in as convoluted and pretentious manner. 
  5.  Add a modifier to practically each and every utilised expression, if you can. 
  6.  A proposition is clearer if it can be repeated; for it is easier to understand when stated again. 
  7.  Never use English where a Latin phrase can be used mutatis mutandis. 
  8. Use archaic phrases whensoever and wheresoever possible in order to ensure that the aforesaid phrases shall duly bear witness to the efficacy of styles used hitherto.
  9.  In every sentence, use punctuation, (as, for example, commas, and, also, brackets), and Capital Letters, at every, possible Opportunity. 
  10. You make your meaning clearer if you include as many cross- references as you can to the practices recommended in Fowler’s Modern English Usage, in Thornton’s Legislative Drafting, and in articles in the Statute Law Review. 
  11.  A good drafting style is achieved if it: to all the world a literary cadence shows, with ne’er a thought for those who have to read the prose. 
  12. Strive to produce sentences which, because of the way in which they are structured and on account of the number of words, phrases, terms and expressions that are deployed in them, and in consequence of the obfuscation which may be occasioned by using syntactical formulations that are unfamiliar to those who are not accustomed to them, are capable of leading to misconstruction of, or uncertainty as to, their purported meaning. Much of this Course is aimed at reducing these principles to a source of laughter.

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