Plain English and the Law: the 1987 Report Republished (html)

Terms of reference

[Referred to the Law Reform Commission of Victoria by Attorney-General, the Hon. J H Kennan MLC, on 10 September 1985.]

To inquire into and review current techniques, principles and practices of drafting legislation, legal agreements and those Government forms which affect legal rights and obligations, in order to recommend what steps should be taken to adopt a plain English drafting style.

The Commission is to have regard to overseas experience in plain English drafting and plain English legislation. It is required to make particular reference to:

a) the elements of a plain English drafting style

b) current drafting techniques, principles and practices which are inconsistent with plain English drafting and which impede comprehension

c) whether any changes to common law and statutory maxims, principles or rules of interpretation would be needed to complement the adoption of a plain English drafting style

d) how computer technology can be applied to assist in introducing plain English into legislation and Government documents

e) the identification of a strategy for the implementation of plain English in legislation and Government documents

f) whether legislation should be introduced requiring certain categories of agreements and documents to be written in plain English, and if so, the desirable content of these laws

g) whether plain English drafting should be incorporated into law courses, and if so, the desirable content.