Plain Language: Moving Away from Legalese

The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission was first introduced to the concept of Plain Language at the regional public hearings last spring.  Last week, Court Solutions’ attendees learned more about the Plain Language movement and heard about initiatives around the country.

Plain Language uses words and images that most people can understand. It enables people with low literacy abilities, people with limited English proficiency and/or people with cognitive disabilities to more easily understand the concepts. People with visual impairments benefit from plain language because it is easier for their automated “screen readers.”

There are many online resources about how to draft plain language documents. Here are just a few:

Stay tuned for more information about Plain Language updates from Stephanie A. Nye.

-RFW

3 thoughts on “Plain Language: Moving Away from Legalese

  1. Hi – Good question.
    Plain Language is everyday language. It’s taking away some of the Latin terms such as pro se and changing it to self-represented litigant.
    It can also include some pictures as descriptors as well. Many of these pictures are universal and can be understood by many more people.
    Hope this helps.
    Thanks.
    -RFW

  2. In Vermont we have a pilot program, under the US Justice Department whereby we provide individuals with low literacy and congnitive processing disorders with Communication Specialists whom are similar to American Sign Language Interpretors, in every Court accept Criminal Court. It is called the Vermont Communication Support Project and it would be wonderful if it could exist in every state in the United States.

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