Acknowledgements
Foreword by Lord Neuberger
Introduction to the 3rd edition

Part 1: What’s wrong with traditional legal writing?

1. Why is traditional legal writing a bad thing?

Introduction
It wastes time
It wastes money
It reduces lawyers’ earnings
It delays clients’ business
It is imprecise
It causes mistakes
It doesn’t do what you intend
It alienates the public
It alienates many judges
It sounds archaic
It shuts people out of their own business
It undermines the rule of law
It’s sometimes unlawful
It can be considered unprofessional
It sounds inhuman
It bores everyone

Part 2: What is good writing?

2. The legal writer’s aims

3. Who says what’s right?

4. What is “plain language”?

What it is
What it isn’t
A practical shortcut

5. Lawyers’ concerns about plain language

6. The need for thought

Part 3: How to make legal writing more effective

7. Three rules of thumb

8. How to start

9. Be human

Tone
Gender-neutral writing
Abstraction

10. Organising your document

The need for organization
Where to put the important information

11. Format

White space
Typeface
Lists
Algebraic formulae
Graphics
Flowcharts
Steps

12. Punctuation

Whether to use it
Ambiguity caused by poor punctuation
Capital letters
Punctuation after paragraph numbers
Commas
Semi-colons
Apostrophes
Hyphens

13. Repetition

14. Definitions

15. Consistency

16. Paragraphs

17. Sentences

Length
Organization
Active or passive voice
Positive or negative thoughts
Split infinitives

18. Choosing words

Trimming what isn’t necessary
Archaic & other unfamiliar expressions
Complex words
Fashionable expressions & clichés
Pronouns
Prepositions
Conjunctions
Over- and under-emphasis

19. Persuasion

20. Editing

21. Computer aids

22. Testing

Part 4: How misunderstandings arise

23. Vagueness

24. Ambiguity

25. Miscuing

26. The loss of nontextual data

27. Misleading expectations

28. The boundaries of literacy and intelligence

29. Translating and interpreting

Part 5: Common law rules of interpretation

30. A brief look at the rules

Appendices

A. A legal writing workshop

B. Analysis of examples

C. Precedents

Bibliography and index