FONTS, LAWYERS AND THE RULES: NEVER, EVER USE COMIC SANS
There was a recent discussion on Twitter about the appropriate fonts for lawyers to use. At times it was a heated discussion. This led me to look at the rules and guidance as to the use of fonts in litigation, and in the law generally. (For those who doubt how seriously fonts are taken I recommend this video from You Tube).
The Civil Procedure Rules are surprisingly silent on the use of fonts.
SKELETON ARGUMENTS ON APPEAL
Practice Direction 52C dictates the size of the font.
This Practice Direction deals with the nature of skeleton argument.
“(b) be printed on A4 paper in not less than 12 point font and 1.5 line spacing.”
In his talk Civil Litigation: Should the rules be simpler? Lord Justice Stephen Richards observed
14. Even now, people frequently ignore or defy the requirement; some think that they can get away with appendices over and above the 25 page limit, or with extensive footnotes in a smaller font size and single spacing.
GUIDANCE IN THE QUEEN’S BENCH
The Interim Applications Court of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court A guide for Litigants in Person has guidance to litigants in person on fonts.
“A font-size of not less than 12 should be used, please – and easy-to-read styles such as Times New Roman or Arial should be adopted. The document should be double-spaced.”
GUIDANCE IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT – GOES ALL THE WAY UP TO 11
The Administrative Court Judicial Review Guide 2016, allows an 11-point font.
“A skeleton argument should be clearly typed and properly spaced. A font style of not less than 11-point should be used, and lines should be reasonably spaced (1.5 or double spacing is ideal)”
FONTS ARE IMPORTANT: YOU COULD BE ASSOCIATED WITH DILBERT
There is an interesting article by Athelstane Aamodt in the New Law Journal: Legal typeface: the letter of the law
- Use Comic Sans and no-one will take you seriously.
- “Traditional” fonts such as Times New Roman and Arial can cause readers to become more easily bored “because of the subliminal association of those typefaces with the world of grey, corporate, “Dilbert” monotony.”
THERE ARE WHOLE BOOKS ON THE SUBJECT (YES REALLY)
Typography for Lawyers: Essential Tools for Polished & Persuasive Documents, was written by Matthew Butterick in October 2015.