Any dealing with the law can be stressful, especially when it involves your children. It therefore doesn’t help that the law often uses a lot of language which is difficult for anyone to understand. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
A recent judgment by Mr Justice Jackson [Lancashire County Council v M & Ors  EWFC 9 (04 February 2016)] has been celebrated for its use of plain English. This is a detailed case involving complex issues including removing children from England to the war torn country of Syria.
When writing his judgment Mr Justice Jackson has kept the mother and the older children in mind, in making his reasons for reaching his decision as plain and as easy for them to understand as possible. It is so important in all areas of law, but particularly in family law, that the people involved understand at all times what is going on and what it means for them as decisions in these cases can be life changing. The judge in this case made his judgment useful for lawyers but most importantly easy for the children and parents to understand. It is after all about their lives and not his!
Judges and lawyers have to strike a balance between satisfying legal requirements and explaining legal tests and issues whilst ensuring that everyone involved understands. The complex language of the law will only change if more judgments like this are written. Keeping it simple should be the way forward!
At Ben Hoare Bell we pride ourselves on the use of plain English and will always assist in simplifying a process where we can.
Blog by Laura Bayles, Family Law Paralegal