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Legal drafting: a regular system to find badly drafted law

Comment 17th July 2010

Use data from surveys or users of  opsi.gov.uk/acts and Bailii.org to find which laws are referred to most. On these, add a tab on the side to ask "Do you think this law is in clear language? If not, why?"  . Third party websites like bailii.org might help if asked.

Why does this matter?

I've tried to understand the building regulations and never quite got to the bottom of them. The civil service has tried and written three guides for consumers, lawyers and professionals. When laws are badly written, sometimes the guidance becomes taken as law – as in Health and Safety cases – leading to further confusion.

The ideal would be for the often-used laws to be written fluently, peoples' sense of equality before the law to be increased and bills from professionals who read the law for us to be reduced.

As a digression, I notice that Bailii.org seem better at laying-out laws on web sites than their public sector rivals who publish employment tribunal reports as word documents for example. Could the publication be subcontracted to Bailii.org?

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