Questions about the strange language of legalese.

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10
votes
6answers
837 views

Why does legal English sometimes repeat the antecedent noun after “which”?

Here's a standard English sentence: The folder which is missing from the principal's office contained the answers to today's exam. (Separate question, discussed elsewhere I'm sure, whether it ...
1
vote
3answers
136 views

What kind of structure with a relative pronoun is this?

As Lord Esher once noted, ‘Any proposition the result of which would be to show that the common law of England is wholly unreasonable and unjust cannot be part of the common law of England.’ ...
2
votes
2answers
713 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 ...
50
votes
7answers
4k 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, ...
5
votes
4answers
15k views

Does 'should' imply an unquestionable command?

My question is prompted by a question on the programmers.stackexchange: This may be a duplicate of another question here on english.stackechange, but the answers given to that question did not ...
62
votes
8answers
17k views

What's the difference between “null” and “void” in legal language?

In the legal term "null and void," what is the difference between null and void? Why not just use one of the two terms? And can either term be used without the other?
7
votes
7answers
93k 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
477 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 ...
27
votes
12answers
7k views

Do the words “jail” and “prison” refer to different things?

In everyday speech, the terms jail and prison are used interchangeably in many situations. However, my understanding is that, at least in the US, they actually refer to slightly different things. For ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the differences among ‘Rules’, ‘Standing Rules’, and ‘Bylaw’?

Recently I was given a document titled Standing Rules of an English speaking club of a local community, which was written in English, and asked to study the contents. I wondered what difference ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

Showing possession when the noun is defined by a word in parentheses

Document Title: Plaintiff's Interrogatories to Defendant There are multiple plaintiffs. We typically define the plaintiff as, "Plaintiffs (Smith) want to object...etc." and this particular plaintiff ...
5
votes
3answers
17k views

What's the word Copyright and `(C)' mean?

In the lines: Copyright (C) 1994 Tom Copyright (C) 1995, 1996 Cruise Copyright (C) 1997, 1998 Louis Here, what's the original meaning of "Copyright"? And why the mark "(C)"? And, what is ...
10
votes
4answers
245 views

Does the word “and” always mean a logical (boolean) operation?

For a simple phrase like "macaroni and cheese" it's clear you want both macaroni and cheese, not one or the other. But as more and more words are added, I've noticed a tendency to begin to read "and" ...
2
votes
1answer
80 views

use of distainer office, distrainment proceedings, etc

Is "distainer office, distrainment proceedings, distrain order, ..." correct? Even this spell checker highlights these words as incorrect. Some translations use execution office, executor's office, ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Does “oath” have an implied religious connotation?

In Singapore you don't have to swear an oath in court if you are of certain religions. Instead you affirm that you're speaking the truth: Circumstances under which affirmation may be made 16.   ...
8
votes
2answers
186 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
805 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?
4
votes
4answers
219 views

Is the usage of the idiom “Move Over” in this passage clear on what side to move over to?

Consider this passage in the Georgia DDS 2010 Driver’s Manual: on page 40: The Georgia Move-Over Law requires drivers to move over one lane when possible if an emergency vehicle with ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

Your signature vs your mark

Is there a difference between your 'signature' and your 'mark'? One of the comments on this post on Bruce Schneier's blog claims there is: This might be out of date in these days of 100% literacy ...
2
votes
3answers
114 views

Figurative meaning of 'suit' - 1615 UK?

Source: p 105, The Law of Contract, 5 ed (2012), by O’Sullivan and Hilliard It is encapsulated in the difficult seventeenth-century language of Lampleigh v Braithwait (1615): A mere ...
2
votes
3answers
115 views

Placing the object of an infinitive before it instead of after it

At the beginning of 1807, based on information gathered from Burr’s correspondence allegedly showing that he had begun preparations for a large-scale military expedition, the former vice ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

Intuition - “to enjoin”

Would someone please explain the etymology or the intuition behind this verb? I'm aware of the etymological fallacy, but still want to intuit its definition.
2
votes
3answers
5k views

John Smith Esquire v. John Smith Attorney v. John Smith Attorney at Law

Which is the most proper way to sign a letter? John Smith Esquire, John Smith Attorney or John Smith Attorney at Law. Besides, does each of those categories denote different levels of engagement in ...
2
votes
4answers
651 views

How is an “assault” different from “battery” in everyday English?

In legal parlance, the word "assault" historically means an attempted battery (battery being defined as below) or an intentional frightening of another person. No contact is necessary. On the other ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

Term for organization being sponsored — “sponsee”? [duplicate]

I have seen a few sponsorship agreements and in one of them the term "sponsee" was used to define the organization being sponsored. The context was a company who sponsors a local team. The agreement ...
1
vote
1answer
355 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Archaic meaning of 'procure' - 1615 UK

Source: p 105, The Law of Contract, 5 ed (2012), by O’Sullivan and Hilliard It is encapsulated in the difficult seventeenth-century language of Lampleigh v Braithwait (1615): A mere ...
0
votes
2answers
104 views

“the below-identified person”: Term for this style and any style guides regarding

Are there any technical terms to specifically describe the two styles (A and B) below? Also, are there any prescriptive style guides that say which is preferable? My own preference is for style B ...
-1
votes
1answer
163 views

What does “which” refer to in “in respect to which”? [closed]

From footnote 34 on page 216 of Thinking Like a Lawyer by Frederick Schauer:  . . . it is accepted that individuals have due-process rights to notice and hearing [//] with respect to ...