The Bizzle

"Saving your ass since 1999"

Bad language

This just in from a national law firm:

Bribery Act 2010 – Consultation period for adequate procedures guidance

On 14 September 2010 the Ministry of Justice published its consultation paper (the “Consultation Paper”) on guidance in respect of Section 7 of the UK Bribery Act 2010 (the “Act”)…

I’m thinking at this point, maybe your readers are capable of remembering, over the course of the five paragraphs of your briefing, which consultation paper this is, about which Act? And if they do get stuck, there’s enough of a clue in the title?

My initial reaction was, this is what you get for delegating your briefings to your over-eager first year trainee. But then they do the same thing in the next article with the Financial Services Authority (“FSA”) – obviously because one needs to be clear that the Food Standards Agency has not become involved in financial services regulation.

At that point it becomes clear (these articles naming different authors) that this patronising pedantry is house style. In other words, and despite the usual disclaimer about not taking the summary as legal advice, they write their client briefings as if they are contracts.

What is the point of this? They are not liable for any ambiguity, and in any case none exists, and the briefing is clearly intended for lawyers and non-lawyers alike. I conclude that they are so used to writing this way for paid work that they are simply incapable of any other style.

Oh, and this is called an “e-briefing”. Very helpful that, in case I might be tempted to pick it up to show it to colleagues…


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