I'm having trouble with in, when, and where. I'd GREATLY appreciate some assistance with to the two questions below.

Q1 Which of the bolded terms should be used in the sentence below?

  • In/When opposing Bob's motion, John bears the initial burden of . . . .

Here's some context: Bob filed a motion in court (a motion is a formal request for the court to do something). John must respond to, or oppose, that motion. In/when opposing that motion, John bears the burden of demonstrating X. In other words, to successfully oppose Bob's motion, John has to satisfy this burden.

Q2 In the sentence below, is the word "where" used correctly?

  • Where, as here, the court's ruling is based on the parties' written submissions rather than an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff need only demonstrate that X.

Context: Before issuing its ruling, the court may decide to hold a formal hearing to ask John and Bob to clarify or provide additional evidence in support of their arguments. Alternatively, the court may simply issue its ruling on the basis of Bob and John's written arguments, without the benefit of a formal hearing.

Thank you for your time.

  • In my view, "In opposing" implies something like "By the act of opposing" or "Because John expressed formal opposition to"; it thus introduces the condition for a formal status under the rules of the court, triggered by John's action. "When opposing" would (I think) express a much more temporal understanding of the situation—"At the time of John's opposing"—which isn't very suitable to the context you ask about. "Where" means, effectively, "In a case" or "In a [juridical] situation" and is, as aparente001's answer notes, a wording commonly used in U.S. law in sentences like the one you cite.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jun 11 at 19:04

1 Answer 1

  1. "In opposing Bob's motion" fits what you described. "When opposing such-and-so types of motion, one bears etc." would fit a general guideline type of statement.

  2. Your "where" statement looks good.

I'm a recent paralegal graduate, and for my answers I'm going by what I've seen in legal writing.

It's always hard to choose between ELU and Law for this type of question. If you want more participation here, you might provide a link to the question over in Law Meta and/or their chat (I don't know how much traffic their chat gets).

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