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The Plain Language Movement in ADR

A discussion about  legal “jargon” is often met with a quote by Jane M. Siegel, a professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School: “there is no freedom or justice when the language of law and government is incomprehensible to a country’s citizens.”  Similar opinions have spurred the plain language movement in the law profession, and the need for clear communication is no more apparent then in mediation and arbitration.

It is imperative that mediators and arbitrators focus on the use of plain and comprehensive language during talks to ensure that each party is on a level playing field.  Mediation is more likely to successfully resolving conflicts and disputes if the legal language is translated into concise, readable language.

Plain language can be applied t0 many different contexts.  Your mediator or arbitrator should preview court documents and forms to be sure parties who don’t have a legal background can clearly understand them. In addition to understanding your case legally, he or she should also understand it humanely.