Proposal, Proposal length - The art of legal writing


The sentence must not contain extra words. But this is not enough. It is also important that words are organized in the right order, so that every word stands in its place. The text should be read smoothly. The reader should not stumble About a word neither within the sentence, nor at transition from one phrase to another. This transition should be easy and inconspicuous.

Proposal length

First of all, the length of sentences is important. So that the reader can immediately understand the meaning of the sentence, the sentence should not be too long. With the complex construction of the phrase, with long syntactic constructions, the phrase often has to be read several times to understand what is being said:

By virtue of constitutional principles and norms, in particular the principles of freedom of contract, access to justice, independence and independence of the judiciary, adversarial and equal rights of the parties, it is assumed that the parties in the contract for rendering legal services, being entitled, by virtue of the dispositive nature of civil law regulation is free to determine the most optimal terms of payment for services provided, including independently determine the procedure and terms for making payments (advance payment, advance payments, races the payment of a loan, the payment of a loan, the hourly payment, the calculation of the amount of compensation as a percentage of the price of the claim, etc.), can not, however, determine the payment of compensation by the adoption of a specific court decision: in the system of current legal regulation, including provisions of civil law, a court decision can not be an object of anyone's civil rights (Article 128 of the Civil Code of the United States) nor the subject of any civil law contract (article 432 of the Civil Code of the United States).

In this sentence there are 123 words. The question arises: how many times is it necessary to read this phrase in order to fully understand the meaning invested in it? Obviously, at least more than once. It is regrettable to note the presence in this phrase of a stylistic error - the tautology "the most optimal", already cited above. A clear example of an unreasonably long sentence is also the phrase below, the meaning of which, although it is more than half the size of the previous one, does not grasp at once:

As early as 1990, well-known domestic lawyers drew attention to the ambiguity of such a conclusion with regard to the nature of the arbitration agreement, indicating, however, as noted earlier, the need for a general regulatory settlement of this issue, bearing in mind, in particular, that compliance with the previously agreed arbitration procedure in contracts may also be in the interests not only of the principal but also of the new beneficiary.

The reader will probably agree that the following text fragment, consisting of two sentences (respectively, 14 and 33 words), is perceived easier:

According to Article 57 of the Constitution of the United States, everyone is obliged to pay legally established taxes and fees. Due to this constitutional requirement, the tax regulation mechanism introduced by the legislator should ensure the completeness and timeliness of payment of taxes and levies, and at the same time - the lawful nature of the activities of authorized bodies and officials associated with their collection.

The proposal should consist of no more than 20-25 words. It is believed that "short-term memory is usually able to" grasp "a sentence of up to 22 words". This does not mean, of course, that all phrases should be the same and consist of the same number of words. On the contrary, in order for the text to be read easily, it is also important that it does not look dull. Therefore, it is desirable that the phrases are of different lengths, and 20 or 25 words is an approximate reference.

However, building a long phrase in such a way that it reads easily and its thought is clear requires diligence and skill. However, cumbersome phrases consisting of several compound or complex sentences, complicated by additions, strings of identical case forms, adverbial phrases or quotations, text separations and author's inserts, should be avoided in all cases.

The general rule is that one sentence must correspond to one thought. Usually, if there are more than 30 words in the sentence, it reflects more than one finished thought and you should consider how it can be divided.

The phrase below is an example of a heavy sentence construction, in which the quotes are interspersed with the author's explanations. Such division of the text makes the phrase difficult to perceive:

Moreover, as it appears from the definitions of chicane: "the exercise of the right is not permitted, if the purpose of such an exercise can be only causing harm to another (classical historical chicane) and "actions are not permitted ... carried out solely with the intent to cause harm to another person" (the reclaimed norm of the Civil Code) - the legislator does not leave room for another interpretation of illegal actions, except for those that do not require results.

From the thesis (footnotes omitted)

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