The Importance of Plain Language

A national conference is taking place this week in Montreal called “Explaining the Law to Others: Message Received… and Understood“. This event is focusing on the importance of plain language in communicating the law. People attending include lawyers, judges, government communication specialists, academics, and non-profits involved in communicating the law. These varied groups are connecting to look at how we can communicate more clearly to our diverse audiences, be they clients, the courts, decision-makers, or the public.

One of the requirements for resources on the Clicklaw website is that they are written in clear language. The concept of clear or “plain language” has been around for decades. But there are signs that we’re reaching a tipping point in seeing plain language become a more prominent part of the discussion in the legal field. Just last month, the United States passed the Plain Writing Act which requires government forms to be written in plain language.

Clicklaw and sites like it continue to grow quickly, suggesting the public is hungry for plain language information about the law. This conference, attended by 300 people and the first of its kind in Canada, brings together so many perspectives, and is another step toward making legal information easier to understand. It’s great to see this happening at a national level, and to connect with others involved in plain language from across the country. Thank you for hosting this, Nathalie and team from Educaloi!

Educaloi will have information about the conference proceedings available in the near future. We’ll post a link to them on the Clicklaw blog when they’re released.

Artists’ Legal Resources

The Vancouver International Film Festival started last week, and it reminds me that Clicklaw now has some great new resources from new contributor Artists’ Legal Outreach:

“Art can get messy. The Artists’ Legal Outreach can help. We are a group of volunteer lawyers and law students committed to working with artists and arts organizations. We offer resources, workshops and clinics where artists can meet confidentially with an experienced lawyer. Every artistic discipline is welcome, all for the price of a donation.”

In Solve Problems on Clicklaw, we now have links to the Artists’ Legal Outreach Resource Library, an online searchable database containing articles, legislation and sample legal documents related to arts, entertainment, business, and intellectual property law.

In addition to the Resource Library, we also have links to their resources on trademark & copyright, public art, and the Olympic and Paralymic Marks Act

And on the HelpMap under phone/web services, we have a link to information about their Artists’ Legal Outreach Legal Clinic.