ADVOCACY THE JUDGE’S VIEW SERIES 3: PART 8: BREVITY
In this post I am encouraging you to read the speech of Lady Justice Rafferty to the Criminal Law Review Conference earlier this month. Much of the speech concerns issues in criminal law. However one passage is, in essence, about the cutting out of verbiage. (The initial draft of this said “unnecessary verbiage” but then I realised this would be an issue).
“In a skeleton argument I can read about the learned judge up to sixty times. Speaking entirely for myself life will still hold meaning for me if I am referred to as the judge not the learned judge.”
ARCHAIC SYNTAX AND THE PASSIVE VOICE
“We’ve looked together at the stormclouds gathering over Grounds of Appeal which are too long, rambling, waffling, warbling, all four, and/or which otherwise disappoint. What’s the best control mechanism? Is it tough Criminal Procedure Rule vocabulary? Is it a Court of Appeal Criminal Division judgment or three, from the top, reiterating disapprobation? Is it a Criminal Practice Direction in firm tones? All the above?”
“Why, in 2019 more or less, are some of us wedded to archaic syntax and particularly to the passive voice? “It is thought”. “It is arguable” “It is suggested” are favourites. Well it certainly is suggested, at least by me, that this has reached the end of its natural life.”
The speech takes an example of an indictment and reduces it from 162 words by taking out unnecessary wording and archaic phrases.