In law school, students learn to understand and use legal terminology that can convey a legal principle in just a few words. As they become expert at legal jargon, they find using it quicker and clearer than trying to explain things accurately using ordinary language and simple terms. Why then, should lawyers and judges spend the time and effort to use plain language?
Provincial Court judges make tens of thousands of court orders every year. Each order must be typed by the Court Clerk in the courtroom as the judge pronounces it, and printed on a paper court order by staff in the Court Registry, before being given to the people affected by it. While improved technology has shortened this process in recent years, it can be time-consuming and work-intensive.
US President Donald Trump made news by tweeting an attack on a judge who ruled against the federal government when several American states challenged his first travel ban in court. Trump was widely criticized for his reaction – not for disagreeing with the ruling, but for undermining respect for the justice system, and for the role of the courts in a democratic system.
Imagine you’re a judge writing reasons for judgment in a trial where a witness testified the accused person swore and shouted obscenities at witnesses. Do you quote the bad language?
On April 6, 2017 Chief Judge Thomas Crabtree kicked off BC Law Week activities with the Court’s second live Twitter Town Hall. As he had the previous year, the Chief Judge spent two hours tweeting responses to questions and comments tweeted to #AskChiefJudge.