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Article

“What Does He Think This Is? The Court of Human Rights or the United Nations?”

(Plain) Language in the Written Memories of Arbitral Proceedings: A Cross-Cultural Case Study

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords arbitration, legal language, plain language, specialised discourse, corpus linguistics
Authors Stefania Maria Maci
AbstractAuthor's information

    Arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is an extra-judicial process resolved privately outside an ordinary court of justice. As such, the award has the same legal effects as a judgment pronounced by a court judge. Arbitration can be preceded by a pre-trial process in which arbitrators try to reach a conciliation agreement between the parties. If an agreement is not reached, the arbitration process begins with the gathering of the parties’ memories. In both oral and written evidence, language is used argumentatively, and above all persuasively, by all sides or parties involved.
    Extensive studies in arbitration have been carried out from the viewpoint of law. From an applied linguistics angle, the study of interaction in legal contexts has recently been carried out with particular regard to witness testimony and cross-examination in international commercial arbitration within the processes of arbitral hearings and the writing of minutes.
    To the best of my knowledge, to date there has never been an investigation on plain language in arbitral memories across national and professional cultures. Therefore, by carrying out a comparative analysis of the written evidence presented in two arbitral processes, this paper tries to evaluate the degree of influence that different legal cultures may exert on the type of language used in written arbitration evidence. The main objective is to offer insights into some instances of arbitration proceedings and their development within their British and Italian contexts.


Stefania Maria Maci
Stefania M. Maci is Aggregate Professor of English Language and Translation at the University of Bergamo, where she teaches English linguistic courses at graduate and undergraduate level. She is member of CERLIS (Research Centre on Specialized Languages), CLAVIER (The Corpus and Language Variation in English Research Group), BAAL (British Association of Applied Linguistics), and AIA (Associazione Italiana di Anglistica).
Article

Shifting from Financial Jargon to Plain Language

Advantages and Problems in the European Retail Financial Market

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords financial markets, financial information, PRIPs/KIIDs, financial jargon, plain language
Authors Francesco De Pascalis
AbstractAuthor's information

    The purpose of this paper is to discuss the European regulatory efforts to guarantee investors a proper understanding of the characteristics of the products being offered in the retail financial market. In particular, the analysis emphasises the proposal to introduce plain language as a mandatory requirement for drafting pre-contractual documents relating to retail financial products.
    The 2007-2009 financial crisis brought to attention the importance of providing investors with more information on financial products to help them make informed investment decisions. However, more disclosure alone is not enough. The quantity and quality of information to be disclosed must go hand in hand with the way the information is communicated.
    Plain language is seen as an adequate tool to make information more transparent and understandable to the average investor. However, to make plain language a valuable instrument, it is necessary to enhance the ability of those who have the responsibility to apply it, that is, the financial products’ issuers and distributors.
    This aspect deserves proper consideration; otherwise, the benefit of plain language will remain on paper.


Francesco De Pascalis
The author obtained an LLM degree in Banking and Finance Law at Queen Mary University of London in October 2010 and is admitted as a barrister to the Verona Bar Society. Currently, he is doctoral candidate at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.
Article

Plain, Clear, and Something More?

Criteria for Communication in Legal Language

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords plain language, legislative drafting, definition, mediation, ignorance of the law
Authors Derek Roebuck
AbstractAuthor's information

    Legislation may be presumed to be intended to transmit a message to those whose conduct it aims to affect. That message achieves its purpose only insofar as it is intelligible to its recipients. Drafters should make every effort to use plain language, but not all meaning can be transferred in plain language. The true criterion is clarity.
    ‘Mediation’ and ‘conciliation’ are examples of definitions created by legislators which do not correspond with categories in practice. Historical research illuminates cultural differences which affect transmission of meaning. Recent practice also illustrates the possibilities of creative methods for resolving disputes and the dangers of unnecessary prescription.
    Imprecise thinking of legislators precludes transmission of precise meaning, as does preference for word-for-word translation. ‘Highest Common Factor’ language is no substitute for natural target language.
    No efforts of legislators or translators can prevail against political power. ‘Ignorance of the law is no excuse’ overrides the imperative to transfer meaning.
    If research is to be effective, it must be not only comparative but interdisciplinary.


Derek Roebuck
Professor Derek Roebuck, Senior Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.
Article

Plain Language in Legal Studies

A Corpus-Based Study

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords legal discourse, metadiscourse, epistemic modality, personalization, code glosses
Authors Michele Sala
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article investigates the influence of Plain Language in legal academic research. The Plain Language Movement (PLM) in Anglophone cultures and Common Law systems considerably affected the way legal experts and practitioners use the language in professional contexts, both in writing and in oral situations. The assumption at the basis of this investigation is that the exposure to and experience with this way of using the language in professional settings is likely to have influenced the way experts write in research-related and pedagogical contexts.
    Based on a comparison between a subcorpus of 40 research articles (RAs) written by English, American, and Australian authors and 40 RAs authored by experts working in Civil Law contexts – thus not affected (at least not so distinctively) by PLM ideology – this article seeks to establish the main differences in the two subcorpora especially at the interpersonal level of discourse and, more precisely, in the use of metadiscursive interactional strategies such as epistemic modality markers and personalization – both intended to facilitate interpretation by controlling assertiveness and lexicalizing the rhetorical figure of the author – and interactive metadiscourse markers like code glosses – which are meant to paraphrase or reformulate meaning to both simplify and bias the interpretive process.


Michele Sala
Michele Sala is a researcher in English Language and Translation at the University of Bergamo, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Communication Studies.
Article

Making EU Legislation Clearer

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords European Union, transparency, openness, clarity of legislation
Authors William Robinson
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article looks at the clarity of the legislation of the European Union (EU), in particular the clarity of the language used. It sketches out the basic EU rules on transparency and openness, past expressions of concern for clearer EU legislation, and the response of the institutions. Finally, it considers briefly some ways to make EU legislation clearer.


William Robinson
Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, formerly coordinator in the Quality of Legislation Team of the European Commission Legal Service.

Giulia Adriana Pennisi
Giulia Adriana Pennisi is a Tenured Researcher in English Language and Translation at the University of Palermo (Italy), where she teaches English linguistic courses at graduate and undergraduate level. She is an Associate Research Fellow in the Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.
Article

Access_open Can Corporate Law on Groups Assist Groups to Effectively Address Climate Change?

A Cross-Jurisdictional Analysis of Barriers and Useful Domestic Corporate Law Approaches Concerning Group Identification and Managing a Common Climate Change Policy

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 3 2014
Authors Tineke Lambooy and Jelena Stamenkova van Rumpt
Author's information

Tineke Lambooy
Tineke Lambooy is Professor Corporate Law at Nyenrode Business University and Associate Professor Corporate Social Responsibility at Utrecht University.

Jelena Stamenkova van Rumpt
Jelena Stamenkova van Rumpt, LLM, is Advisor Responsible Investment at PGGM (Dutch Asset Manager for Pension Funds).
Article

Access_open The Consolidation of Assets and Liabilities within Company Groups

Can South African Company Law Learn from New Zealand’s Company Law?

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 3 2014
Keywords groups, limited liability, veil piercing, consolidation, pooling
Authors Richard Stevens
AbstractAuthor's information

    Limited liability is one of the cornerstones of company law. This is also the case where companies form part of a group of companies with one controlling holding company. In South African law, as in most jurisdictions, there are exceptions to limited liability. These exceptions usually lead to the piercing of the veil between the company and its shareholders. In New Zealand company law the legislature has introduced measures to enable courts to consolidate or pool together the assets and liabilities of companies within a group in cases of liquidation of one/all of the companies in the group of companies. This article investigates whether South African company law should consider introducing these New Zealand measures into South African company law to better protect creditors of the liquidated company. The article concludes that the New Zealand measures could serve as a useful presumption to enable courts to consolidate assets and liabilities within a group of companies in cases of liquidation of one or all the companies in the group.


Richard Stevens
Senior lecturer, University of Stellenbosch; BA LLB (Stellenbosch), LLM (Tübingen) and LLD (Stellenbosch). Attorney of the High Court of South Africa.
Article

Access_open Parental Liability for Externalities of Subsidiaries

Domestic and Extraterritorial Approaches

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 3 2014
Keywords company law, group liability, comparative approach, liability matrix, statutory/judicial approaches
Authors Linn Anker-Sørensen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper offers a structural tool for examining various parental liability approaches for the externalities of its subsidiaries, meaning in the context of this paper, the negative environmental impact of their operations. In order to conclude that the parent is liable for externalities of subsidiaries, one must be able to bypass the corporate privileges of separate legal personality and limited liability, either within traditional company law or within alternative approaches offered by notably tort and environmental law. The overall acceptance of companies within groups as single entities, instead of recognition of their factual, often closely interlinked economic relationship, is a well-known barrier within traditional company law. The situation is exacerbated by the general lack of an extraterritorial liability approach and of enforcement of the rare occurrences of such liability within the traditional company law context. This paper explores various liability approaches found in jurisdictions worldwide mainly based on mapping papers from the international Sustainable Companies Project. The author introduces a matrix in order to systemize the different approaches, distinguishing between three levels: domestic and extraterritorial, statutory and judicial and indirect and direct liability. A proper distinction between the different liability approaches can be valuable in order to identify the main barriers to group liability in regulation and in jurisprudence.


Linn Anker-Sørensen
Research assistant in the Research Group Companies, Markets, Society and the Environment and its Sustainable Companies Project, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo (jus.uio.no/companies under Projects).

Edmond Boullé
BA (Oxon), LL.M McGill IASL

Edmond Boullé
European Space Agency, France. BA (Hons) Oxon, LL.M (McGill IASL), Barrister at Law (Middle Temple).

Mahulena Hofmann
SES Chair in Satellite Communications and Media Law, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Annette Froehlich
LL.M., MAS, European Space Policy Institute (ESPI)

Álvaro Fabricio dos Santos
Advocacy General of the Union (AGU), Brazilian Association for Aeronautics and Space Law (SBDA), São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil

Olga Volynskaya
Federal Space Agency, Russia

Bernhard Schmidt-Tedd
Head of Legal Support, Space Administration, DLR

Olga S. Stelmakh
PhD Candidate, Institute of State and Law to the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
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