Challenges of Legal Language in Statute Drafting: Expert Analysis


Legal drafting, particularly in statute creation, presents numerous challenges due to the complex nature of legal language. This article examines the difficulties, potential risks, and opportunities associated with legal drafting, offering insights for legal professionals and those seeking to understand the nuances of legislative language.

  1. Words with Multiple Meanings
    Some words in legal documents can mean different things. For example, “right” could mean a legal claim or something correct. This can make it hard to know exactly what a law is saying.
  2. Language Limitations
    Our everyday language could be better for describing complex legal ideas. Even simple words can become tricky when used in laws.
  3. Changing Word Meanings
    Words can change their meaning over time. A word in an old law might mean something different today, confusing.
  4. Emotional Words
    Some legal terms can stir up emotions, which might affect how people understand or react to a law.
  5. Vague Terms
    Words like “reasonable” or “fair” are used in-laws, but they don’t have exact meanings. This can lead to different interpretations.
  6. Legal Jargon
    Lawyers often use special terms that most people don’t know. While sometimes necessary, overusing these words can make laws hard to understand.
  7. Overcomplicated Language
    Legal documents often use long sentences and old-fashioned words. This can make even simple ideas sound complex.
  8. Strict Formatting
    Laws are often written in a very specific way that can seem strange or confusing to most people.
  9. Too Many Words
    Sometimes, legal documents use more words than necessary to explain something, making it harder to get to the main point.
  10. Lawyer-Speak
    Lawyers might use language in a way that sounds impressive but doesn’t say much. This can make laws unclear.
  11. Old-Fashioned Phrasing
    Some legal documents stick to traditional ways of saying things, even if those phrases are no longer commonly used or understood.

These problems can make laws and legal documents difficult for most people to understand. This is why there’s a growing effort to use simpler, clearer language in legal writing.

  1. Simplicity, Clarity, and Precision
  2. Plain English and Plain Language Vocabulary
  3. Eliminating the Jargon “Legalese”
  4. Avoid Repetitions
  5. Slash Unnecessary Words
  6. Breaking up Long and Complex Sentences
  7. Connecting Sentences
  8. Linking Paragraphs
  9. Use of Passive Voice
  10. Use of Symbols and Abbreviations

Challenges in Writing Laws

Writing laws is not easy. Here are some of the main challenges:

Being Precise Yet Understandable

  • Laws need to be exact, but also easy for everyone to understand.
  • It’s like trying to explain complex rules to both experts and beginners at the same time.

Planning for the Future

  • Laws need to work for situations we can’t predict.
  • But they also need to be clear enough to guide people now.
  • It’s like writing instructions for a game that hasn’t been invented yet.

Using Words Consistently

  • The same words need to mean the same thing throughout all laws.
  • This is hard because different laws are written at different times by different people.

Avoiding Confusion

  • Writers try to make laws clear, but sometimes people still need to interpret what they mean.
  • It’s like trying to write directions that work for everyone, no matter where they’re starting from.

Problems When Laws Are Poorly Written

When laws aren’t written well, it can cause big problems:

  • People might misunderstand what the law means.
  • There could be more court cases because people disagree about what the law says.
  • The law might not work as intended.
  • People might lose trust in the legal system if they can’t understand the laws.

Ways to Make Laws Better

There are some good ideas for improving how laws are written:

Using Simpler Language

  • Many places are trying to use everyday words in-laws to make them easier to understand.

Using Technology to Help

  • Computers can help find problems in how laws are written.
  • They can suggest clearer ways to say things.
  • They can check if new laws match the rules for writing laws.

Working Together

  • Getting different people involved in writing laws can make them better.
  • This includes experts, regular citizens, and people the law will affect.


The challenges of legal language in statute drafting are significant but manageable. By addressing the specific problems inherent in legal language, adopting plain language principles, utilizing technology, and promoting collaboration, legal professionals can create more effective and accessible legislation. As legal practices evolve, so must our approach to drafting, ensuring that laws remain both precise and comprehensible.

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *