Plain English in Legal Writing (LAWS6950)


This unit looks at the role of plain English in legal writing, with particular emphasis on contract drafting, property documents, statutes, and advice-writing. It examines the reasons for the 'traditional' style of legal writing, the research into the advantages and disadvantages of plain English, and the techniques for writing law in plain English. Particular topics include the assumptions behind using plain English in law, the problems with terms of art and judicially-defined words and phrases, the causes of ambiguities in legal documents, and aspects of document design.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Oct 10, 11 & 13, 14 (9-5). Please visit the Sydney Law School in Europe website


class participation, including drafting assignments (20%), 3000wd redrafting exercise (40%) and 3000wd essay (40%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Assumed knowledge

Available to students who hold an undergraduate law degree, completed legal studies as part of a business or commerce degree or LAWS6252 Legal Reasoning and the Common Law System

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.