Winners of our 19th Plain English Awards

Press release

23 April 1999

Campaigners celebrate as dead language is finally buried.

Plain English Campaign is preparing for the first day of the crystal-clear era in Britain's civil courts - and warning that 2000 volunteers will be hunting down the remains of legalese.

New rules, which take effect on Monday, spell doom for phrases like ‘in camera’ and ‘ex parte’.  All civil courts will now use ‘in private’ and ‘without notice’ instead.

The reforms also see an end to obscure jargon such as an ‘Anton Piller order’ (now simply a ‘search order’) and even replace ‘plaintiff’ with ‘claimant’ and ‘writ’ with ‘claim form’.

‘This is a stunning victory for plain English,’ founder director Chrissie Maher said today. ‘Courts will be run for the public instead of the lawyers, and for the 21st century instead of the 16th.

‘Finally the legal system will realise that everybody’s right to justice includes the right to understand court proceedings.

‘The Lord Chancellor said he wanted a ‘commitment to making access to justice a reality, not a slogan’.  Well he's done that and more.

‘And if any lawyers were thinking of trying to slip a bit of jargon or Latin into court proceedings, they've got another think coming.  We've asked all our 2000 volunteers to keep an eye out for anyone using the archaic terms, and we're not afraid to name and shame.

‘There's no hiding place for gobbledygook.’

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1999 Plain English Campaign
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For a Web page discussing why legalese is not necessary, see Science Exposes the Absurdity of Legalese .

This is a page in the Web site entitled Legal Reform Through Transforming the Discipline of Law into a Science.