The logic of the presentation in a legal letter - The art of legal writing

Logic of presentation in a legal letter

When we talk about the logic of presentation, we mean that our presentation, after our mental reasoning, must be definite, consistent and conclusive. It must be built in accordance with the basic laws of formal logic: the laws of identity, contradiction (non-contradiction), the excluded third and sufficient grounds - and the requirements arising from them.

Usually we observe logical laws at a subconscious level, as dictated by common sense. The logic of the question, as a rule, predetermines the logic of thought. However, we have to carefully monitor the observance of the laws of logic when we are working with complex multidimensional legal documents, with a large volume of factual data, a large array of often contradictory legal material, complex arguments.

Violation of logical rules leads to logical errors - errors in the structure of thoughts and connections between them1, and this in a legal letter is unacceptable.

Violation of the law of identity, when the same term is used in different senses, will lead to the fact that our reasoning will be vague and the reader will not understand what is being said. Therefore, for example, in order to explain in this paper what requirements are required for the preparation of a memorandum and legal opinion, it was first necessary to find out what exactly will be understood under each of these terms, since they are not established in United States legal practice, and lawyers often invest in them different content. Otherwise, talking about a memorandum and legal opinion as a form of legal writing would be meaningless:

because it is impossible to think anything if one does not think one thing ...

Aristotle. Metaphysics

Violation of the requirements of the law of contradiction (non-contradiction), when one proposition excludes the other, makes our reasoning inconsistent and contradictory, since:

it is impossible to correctly and correctly approve and deny at the same time ...

Aristotle. Metaphysics

A clear example of the contradictory nature of the judgments is given by Rudin's dialogue with Pigasov in the novel by I. Turgenev & Rudin:

- Great! - said Rudin, - so, in your opinion, there are no beliefs?

- No - and does not exist.

- Is this your belief?

- Yes.

- How do you say that there are none? Here's one for the first time.

Everyone in the room smiled and exchanged glances.

The law of the excluded third says that of two contradictory judgments one must be true and the other false; There is no third. Thus, this law requires the "choice of one of two mutually exclusive alternatives"; we can not reject both the utterance and its negation. For illustration, let us recall the well-known "To be or not to be?" from Shakespeare's "Hamlet". Similarly, without violating the law of the excluded third, it can not be asserted at the same time that one of the parties to the dispute violated its obligations under the treaty and that it did not violate them; that specific persons are in registered marriage and at the same time are not husband and wife; that this person is guilty of committing a crime and that he did not commit it: "means" in such cases can not be.

Similarly, there can not be anything intermediate between the two members of a contradiction, and with respect to something one is necessary, that which neither one either affirm or deny.

Aristotle. Metaphysics

The essence of the law of sufficient reason is that every statement must be justified; while the grounds should be sufficient for them to be able to derive a certain statement. Otherwise, our statements will be unfounded, because:

no phenomenon can not be true or valid, no one statement is fair - without sufficient grounds, why this is the case, and not otherwise ...

F. Leibniz. Monadology

Compliance with the requirements of the law of a sufficient basis presupposes the reasoning of the allegations. An argument is a proposition (or a set of judgments), which is given in support of the truth of another proposition (concept, theory); the argument is also the basis (part of the basis) of the proof. Argumentation is exactly the way to substantiate the allegations, which most often have to be used by lawyers when preparing legal documents.

An example of a logical error of argumentation is the so-called circle in the argumentation (or "circle in the proof"), when the rule of independence of arguments from the thesis is violated. This is well demonstrated by the phrase this can not be, because this can not be ever & quot ;. Did not leave this mistake without attention and AS Pushkin ("The refutation of the critics"):

Our critics say usually: it's good, because it's fine, and it's bad, because it's bad. From now on you can not get them out.

Logical errors are often allowed in definitions, when the definition is given through the word to be determined. In logic, they are called the circle in the definition & quot ;. As an example, the definition of operative-search activity in the Federal Law on Operative-Investigative Activities: "the type of activity carried out publicly and secretly by operational units of state bodies authorized for this Federal Law (hereinafter - agencies performing operational search activity) in limits of their powers through the conduct of operational-search activities in order to protect the life, health, rights and freedoms of man and citizen, property, echeniya security of society and the state from criminal attacks & quot ;. If we do not know what operational-investigative measures are, we can hardly understand what operative-search activity is. For the same reason, the definition of the "bar association" contained in the former law: "association of persons engaged in advocacy" is also incorrect.

The logic of the exposition also presupposes observance of the sequence of exposition. The presentation should be smooth.

Each of the following abstracts should follow from the previous one or be associated with it.

For the success of speech, it is important the course of thought of the lecturer. If an idea jumps from an object to an object, it is thrown, if the main thing is constantly interrupted, then this speech is almost impossible to listen to. We need to build a plan so that the second thought flows from the first, the third from the second, and so on. or that there is a natural transition from one to the other.

... The natural flow of thought delivers, in addition to the mental, a deep aesthetic pleasure. Pushkin also spoke about this.

A. F. Koni. Tips for lecturers

Oral and written speech is built according to different canons, but logic must be present in both speeches. Therefore, the advice that AF Koni gave to novice lecturers can be fully addressed to budding lawyers- "writers". In AF Koni's words, in essence, the basic requirements for the presentation of material in a legal letter are formulated. A legal letter must be complete. This means that our presentation should focus on the main topic. We must follow the logical sequence of presentation and the logic of construction. In a legal letter there should not be internal contradictions and logical failures. Therefore, when composing the text, we must correctly group the material. Individual parts of the text (sections, chapters, paragraphs and other structural units of the text) should be logically linked. Argumentation should be logically built and convincing, the formulations are conclusive. Some provisions should not contradict others.

To check if your text meets these requirements, imagine that you are writing to someone who is attuned to you critically and will not miss the opportunity to note the shortcomings and weaknesses in your position.

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