Some thoughts for the PLAIN conference, Toronto 2002
Authors: Peter Butt
In a panel discussion chaired by Joseph Kimble, Brian Hunt and Peter Butt argued the assumptions behind the use of plain legal language. Brian posed the questions: Is there really a demand for plain language legislation? Would plain language legislation function as intended? Peter presented evidence from recent research supporting the claim that plain language benefits legal documents and statutes.
Authors: Nick Horn
One of the seminal points in the development of plain statutory language is the change from the imperative “shall” to “must.” Although apparently small, this has proved to be a key marker of the adoption of plain language legislation. Nick discussed how this shift helps us understand what is different about the way legislative language functions, and argued that such an understanding is necessary if drafters are to continue to pursue effectiveness and clarity.
Authors: Philippe Hallée
Traditionally, a statute is a message of the sovereign to the people (at least in Canada!). The accent is not on communicating the information it contains. Philippe described a prototype project of Justice Canada to develop a more accessible act. If this prototype is approved by Parliament, all federal legislation in Canada would be drafted using some or all of the features developed for the Employment Insurance Act. Philippe presented those features at this session and talked about the evolution of a new writing culture for legal drafters.
Authors: Nicole Fernbach
This session is of special interest to plain language professionals who are increasingly asked about issues of clarity in translation. Do the syntax and vocabulary of romance languages require techniques different from those used in English to achieve clarity? What are the differences, and what principles hold true across languages?
Authors: Tim Miles
Tim has applied his creative writing experience to his position as a precedents manager. He describes how his use of humour and fictional characters in his regular newsletters have made the firm's writing culture less pompous and more conscious of good writing.
Looking at the Transition from Correctional Facility Programs to Community Based Adult Education
Authors: Lois Hobley
In the winter of 1999, Jane Boulton, the Program Manager of Smithers Literacy Services had a burning question, "Why don't inmates access my program on return to the community? I know they are out there and have a need for literacy services, but where are they?" In conversations with other literacy practitioners in the region, Jane found she was not alone in this conundrum.
With this in mind, Smithers Literacy Services set out to discover the answers to the barriers to transition and more with the development of Incarceration to Inclusion, Looking at the Transition from Correctional Facility Programs to Community Based Adult Education.
Together with Sue Carson, counselor and teacher at the Terrace Community Correctional Centre (TCCC), Jane garnered the permission necessary to conduct research at the prison and upon successful funding, hired a researcher. Jane was committed to utilizing the research findings to develop a Model for Reintegration, a process that will assist inmates
access community education programs across northern B.C.
The idea that the research would generate a ripple effect in the northern region was an integral part of the plan. The act of research would be as transformational as the results. Practical, useful and relevant, Incarceration to Inclusion is a project that can impact us all.
Authors: John Howard Society of Alberta
This paper is an attempt to describe the evolution of Canadian juvenile justice legislation and compares the principles and practice of the Juvenile Delinquents Act, the Young Offenders Act, and the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The impact that each Act had (or will have) on the youth justice system will also be considered.
It includes the following information:
- Executive Summary
- Juvenile Justice Legislation in Canada prior to 1908
- The Juvenile Delinquents Act: An effort to save the children and protect the community
- The long road to reform: 1962-1984
- The guiding principles of the Young Offenders Act
- The Youth Justice process under the Young Offenders Act
- Reforming the Young Offenders Act
- The Youth Criminal Justice Act: In principle and practice
Protecting the Right to Understand
The majority of people who are charged, act as witnesses, or sit on juries in the criminal justice system may not be able to use written legal documents or materials effectively. Others may have limited information about legal procedures and terminology, making understanding the context and meaning of legal materials difficult.
The purposes of this publication are to help those who work in the criminal justice system to improve their understanding of the needs of justice system users, particularly those with limited literacy skills; and to improve the effectiveness of justice system communications with users.
The purpose of this publication is to assist lawyers, judges, police, court staff and others working in the criminal justice system : to improve their awareness and understanding of the needs of justice system users, particularly those with limited literacy skills; to improve the effectiveness of justice system communications with users.
This booklet explains how literacy awareness and links with literacy organizations can help criminal justice system officials : to save time and money; to avoid unnecessary public and media criticism; to reduce miscarriages of justice; and to strengthen public and client confidence in the criminal justice system.
A Guide for the Promotion of Plain Language
This document looks at low literacy and the administrative justice system, making recommendations for the use of plain language when working with clients with marginal literacy skills who are faced with an unfamiliar environment, unknown administrative processes, and difficult legal language when dealing with legal processes.
"The courts have stated it plainly: if individuals do not understand the legal process in which they are involved, then justice has been denied."
Series: Literacy is for Life Fact Sheet
Authors: Movement for Canadian Literacy
The Literacy is for Life Fact Sheet series is a series of two-pager highlights on literacy and related topics.
This Fact Sheet highlights Literacy and Justice. “Without literacy there can be no justice.” (Burt Galaway, John Howard Society, 1997.)