Questions about the strange language of legalese.

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Capitalizing processes in a law suit

When writing about a trial, should four-year Statute of Limitations have the four-year spelled out or as 4 year Statute of Limitations? Also, should Preliminary Hearing, Mediation, Discovery, ...
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2answers
83 views

Is there a grammar rule that defines the properties of a legally accepted word [closed]

I would like to know if there is a grammar rule(s) that defines whether a word is gramatically legal or not. I understand a word is given meaning by a human and anyone can give meaning to anything. ...
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1answer
20 views

Which phrase is better?

"In cases where either party is unable to perform the contracted obligation" or "in the event either party is unable to perform the contracted obligation"? I prefer the second but having used "in the ...
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1answer
32 views

Is this shorter phrase awkward?

In legalese, while describing a party which loses the capacity to perform certain obligation, is it awkward to say "During the course of the calamity, the performance incapacitated (or disabled) party ...
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2answers
193 views

“In” or “At” sole discretion

We're drafting some legal stuff, and our lawyer used this phrasing... ...whether any particular enhancement is to be categorized as such shall be made in the sole reasonable discretion of ...
2
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1answer
64 views

noun-modifier word order in 'date certain'

One will occasionally hear the term date certain (meaning 'a fixed, definite date') in legal or business contexts. e.g., The Courts have continually emphasized that the Act demands primary NAAQS ...
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1answer
25 views

' when we hold': usage

The daily judge assignments are posted on the Clerk of Court site – see side bar. I have an attorney going tomorrow to research the records for the name of the judge responsible on February 5 ...
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4answers
92 views

“Accepted” not correct for legal document [closed]

Could someone suggest a good word to use in the sentence given below? It is for use in a legal operational protocol manual and should fit within context. I'm currently using "accepted", due to a lack ...
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2answers
212 views

Are commas considered superfluous in legal documents?

I'm in the process of purchasing a house and reading through the contract, I can't find a single instance of the comma. (As if legalese wasn't hard enough to read already!) This includes the ...
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2answers
425 views

Alter vs Modify vs Change (in Legal Documents)

Consider the quote from "What is a Grantor Trust" article. This trust is revocable, which simply means it can be altered, modified, and otherwise changed or even terminated during the life of the ...
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2answers
483 views

Difference between “deny doing something” and “deny having done something”

What is the difference between "deny doing something" and "deny having done something"? The context is as follows: While being questioned on the court, the man denied [taking/having taken] the ...
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2answers
787 views

What does 'provision' exactly mean in a legal document?

Now I'm asked to look at a legal document(here) and answer the question that which provisions apply to a certain case. However, I don't know what the word 'provision' means in a legal context. ...
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1answer
65 views

Do “operative” and “valid” have the same meaning in legal terms?

I found this question when reading a machine manual. In the part about Guarantee, it said "The guarantee will not be operative if any of the following apply:" My question here is that can operative ...
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3answers
110 views

Looking for two terms from law vocabulary

I'm looking for two technical words used in law: Someone who accepts the law, they will try to do the best things in any situation. The opposite of number one, they reject any law and at every ...
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2answers
131 views

How should I fill these blanks on an agreement?

How should I fill these blanks on an agreement? The agreement starts like this; __ legally represented by _, residing at __ on __ hereinafter referred as "Contractor"... 1)Name 2)as the person not ...
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1answer
100 views

What is the origin of “fine” meaning a legal penalty? [closed]

What is the origin of the word fine meaning a legal penalty involving the payment of a sum of money?
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1answer
1k views

confused with “had been sent”, “was sent” and “had sent” [closed]

What will come in the blank made in the sentence "A letter on import regulations...... on 26.6.2013"? Options are 'had been sent' or 'had sent' or 'was sent' ?
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1answer
245 views

What does RO mean? [closed]

English is not my mother tongue and now I am reading a financial article about the banking industry in Vietnam. In it a line says the following: This Section focuses only on the commercial banks ...
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1answer
94 views

What is the “material holding” in a company'?

I am working on a text and it confuses my mind. I do understand the meaning and yet can not be sure about it. It says: The arbitrator holds shares, either directly or indirectly, which by reason ...
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1answer
61 views

Is there a synonym for 'idionymon'?

Other than phrasal descriptions, such as "special illegal act"[1]? [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idionymon
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2answers
102 views

Can abide be extended to imply enforce or act?

In a legal document, such as a contract or agreement between two parties (where party refers to entities or individuals), what is the exact meaning of the word abide ? The clause in question : I ...
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3answers
244 views

Payment to be due within three months “of” that meeting

Does the word "of" in the context of an established point in time refer to before or after that established point in time?
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6answers
192 views

Is the “will” in “can and will” necessary?

Anyone who's ever seen much American film or television has heard some variation of the following sentences countless times: You have the right to remain silent. If you choose to give up that ...
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2answers
103 views

Should “Have your peer partner send you her plans” be considered a directive?

If you tell a person to have someone do something, is that considered a command? Our boss sent an email which told us to "have your peer partner send you her plans". Should that be considered a ...
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2answers
249 views

What does “any or any” mean in a legal text?

I have been going through several legal documents lately and have realised that a lot of them use the fragment "any or any" within some sentences. Failing to place a guard or fence or warning ...
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1answer
5k views

What does 'back-stopping' mean?

We have a tender document, and it lists how the offer should be proposed. Basically this is split into 3 sections: Rationale Strategy Details of Proposal Under section 2., there is the below ...
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1answer
131 views

Difference between “acquittal” and “false accusation” [closed]

I encountered a phrase with a word "acquittal" in a context of criminal law. In Wikipedia, its meaning is described as following: In the common law tradition, an acquittal formally certifies that ...
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1answer
227 views

Reference request: the pronunciation of Law French?

Would anyone happen to know of a systematic account of the English pronunciation of legal and parliamentary terms and phrases of Anglo-Norman French origin, or more generally, of Law French? When it ...
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2answers
140 views

Non-union-affiliated shop steward

I'm looking for an English word or short phrase to convey a meaning which is similar to “union representative” or “shop steward”, except that the person in question is not (necessarily) associated ...
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2answers
93 views

Is “subordinated” a good translation of the Italian legal term “subordinato”? [closed]

I've found this translation http://www.wordreference.com/iten/subordinato but I am not sure if English legals use subordinate to define a party that is subordinated to another. Any suggestion? EDIT: ...
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1answer
224 views

What do “take ground” and “vested in” mean in this context?

Here is an extract from the headnote of a case [1] I am trying to understand: The defendants, who were wharfingers, agreed with the plaintiff for a consideration to allow his vessel to discharge ...
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1answer
1k views

“In contemplation of”

I came across this phrase in an legal case relating to an ante-nuptial agreement, and was wondering what it meant exactly. The sentence is: Agreement concluded prior to and in contemplation of ...
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0answers
75 views

Terminology for the sub-structures of laws & legislations [closed]

I am working on a paper for Russian history class that deals with emancipation reform of 1861. Basically reform was accomplished through legislature, made of 17 acts, and each act was made of ...
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2answers
167 views

Help in demystifying the meaning of 2 sentences from an academic journal article!

1.) This is basically an english translation of a section of a Hittite Law code: "If someone wounds a man and makes him ill, he shall nurse him. He shall give a man in his place who will work in his ...
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1answer
506 views

Did English use to have capitalization rules similar to German's current rules? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Capitalisation of nouns in English in the 17th and 18th centuries I was looking up an article of the constitution of the United States of America, and I noticed in the ...
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2answers
244 views

Official term for “at large” or “on the loose”

When a convict is illegally out of prison – either escaped, or didn't get to the prison after his conviction – what is the right expression to describe this? I want the term that is used in ...
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2answers
129 views

Difference between “testified” and “stated” in a legal context

If you're working in a law firm, do the words "testified" and "stated" have two different meanings? For example, The witness testified that... The witness stated that... And is it acceptable ...
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2answers
490 views

Reason for Subject-Verb Inversion: Only in cases where A is B, shall the Company do X [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Sentences using: [something] + have + they subject-auxiliary inversions not associated with questions In the following, why does subject-verb inversion occur? Is it ...
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4answers
3k views

What's the equivalent phrase in the UK for “I plead the fifth”?

In the United States, a person under examination on the witness stand may "plead the fifth" to avoid self-incrimination. In other words, a person asserts his or her Fifth Amendment right. Citizens of ...
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2answers
506 views

Indian legal documents

I am a resident of India. I have never been able to understand the language used in the legal documents here. Below is an example from an agreement to sell an apartment. Herein after referred to ...
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2answers
84 views

What is the word for the kind of thing that legal laws can apply to?

I know this question title is awkward, so let me explain by example: The word "law" means different things in different contexts. You have the "laws of natural science" (e.g. the law of energy ...
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3answers
211 views

Clear way of saying that one set of rules overrides another, if contradicts [closed]

I'm working on updating a constitution, but as it is for a non-incorporated entity it doesn't have to be legally perfect. I'm much more interested in clarity. Here is what I have at the moment: ...
3
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1answer
238 views

Situation when a sentence can't be appealed

After a specific period, or if the appeal is found invalid for any reason, or was issued at the final instance court, a sentence becomes valid and is to be executed. I found the translation of the ...
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7answers
3k views

Why does legal English continue to remain archaic?

Perhaps this is a question for Law.SE if one exists, but I am asking here as there are other nice questions on English history. There is some historical development account presented in Wikipedia, ...
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5answers
6k views

What word describes a person who signs an official document?

For example, I have a document that has the signatures of three people, all public servants: a tax collector,an inspector, and a school principal. How could I collectively describe these three people? ...
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7answers
32k views

What is the proper usage of the phrase “due diligence”?

I have encountered the phrase "due diligence" in the business world. The usage examples I have seen (mostly emails) cannot exactly be considered grammatical canon. An internet search produces ...
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2answers
252 views

What's the most pedantically correct way to reference sectioned and numbered rules aloud?

I am a roller derby announcer. An important part of my job is to explain the rules of roller derby to the fans. The rules of modern roller derby are promulgated by the Women's Flat Track Derby ...
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1answer
473 views

Meaning of “to fail at one's peril” in a legal document from the Elizabethan period [closed]

I do not know what "to fail at one's peril" means. The phrase appears in legal documents until the 19th century (at least this is what Google suggests). I cannot deduce its meaning no matter how hard ...
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1answer
458 views

In Legal English (law) is there an authoritative meaning to “over the age of ‘X’”? [closed]

[This is a question about Legal English, that is, English language used in legal writing, not about strict usage of English outside of legal writing. —DN] In Legal English what does “over the age of ...
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2answers
217 views

An expression for law students using “tuppence”

Has anyone heard of an expression, from the Renaissance or older, containing the word "tuppence" which describes a student of the law or someone without a great deal of experience or training in it?