Sometimes a glossary of legal terms can be very useful. There are some terms that belong in the legal domain – they are legal terms and cannot be changed. For example, “warranty” has a specific meaning in law. The challenge is still to make those terms understandable and plain to the ordinary consumer. One option is to put the plain meaning in brackets after the legal terms. But this can lengthen your documents and result in unnecessary duplication that can lead to inconsistencies.
A Glossary of Legal Terms
The glossary gives the consumer a general understanding of the legal terms that an organisation uses. They are not exact legal or technical definitions. Simply plain language explanations for some words or expressions that a consumer might come across in an organisations documents. It lists each term and provides a plain language explanation of the term. For example:
- Cedent – the person who transfers rights to someone else
- Ratify – formally approve of
- Jointly and severally liable – responsible together and separately
You will not have to explain terms wherever they appear in each document. This will shorten your documents and make them more readable – the documents won’t be clogged up with explanations. You can use a difficult (but necessary) word in a document, which is sometimes easier than trying to explain what it means in the document itself. Each document could have a reference to the glossary and a link to where it appears.
You can adjust the meaning of a term once in the glossary rather than every time it appears in a document. The glossary can become a live document available on your website. It is also important to ensure that is ties in with and complements other related glossaries (both yours and those of third parties). For example, the Code of Banking Practice. It is important to remember that the glossary is not a substitute for trying to make the documents themselves as plain and understandable as possible.
How you benefit
- Win the trust of your consumers
- Use it to sell your services
- It will help employees explain documents. They could also refer consumers to the glossary.
- Demonstrate your efforts to comply with the Consumer Protection Act (section 22 in particular)
- Reduce queries about your documents
- Help your employees understand your documents
- Shorten your documents and ensure consistency
When should you do this?
A glossary of legal terms should be created at the beginning of the project and be largely complete after the first document is edited. It will be continually added to during the conversion of all documents to plain language.
Who does it apply to?
A glossary of legal terms is for all medium to large organisations. The organisations that will find it especially useful are banks, insurance companies and retailers.
How do I get it?
If you are interested, please complete the form on the right or enquire now. We will contact you to find out more about your requirements and give you a quote.