# Lost in lawyer talk

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Lost in lawyer talk

xxxdeleted.
Australia
Local time: 09:55
English to Chinese
+ ...
 Oct 2, 2012

This comes from a separation agreement.

Original text:
Source: http://www.separation-international.com/index.php/australia/extra-clauses

If JOHN and MARY shall live together as man and wife again then from that time this Agreement shall be void and have no further effect.

PROVIDED THAT this Agreement shall not be deemed to have ceased to continue in force by reason of their living together again on one or more occasion for a period or periods in the aggregate of not more than three (3) months if reconciliation was the sole or principal motive to their living together as man and wife again but without prejudice to the acts and deeds done previously under this Agreement.

My question:

I can understand the first paragraph alright,but I cannot figure out what the second paragraph is talking about.

Can anyone explain the second paragraph to me?

I sometimes feel that lawyers' mind are probably wired better than common folks, they can build a lot of elements into a complicated sentence and not getting lost along the way. Reading their writing is like trying to work out a math problem and sort out the relationship of different elements.

Kelly S
Ireland
Local time: 12:55
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
 Previous reconciliation attempts do not invalidate current agreement Oct 2, 2012

Paragraph 1: if they live together again, the original separation agreement is void.

Paragraph 2: is saying that the separation agreement can not be considered null and void if they had actually lived together again, for a total of 3 months, (adding all the periods of possible living together) AFTER originally signing the separation agreement, with the purposes of trying to reconcile. Therefore their reconciliation attempts would not invalidate the agreement.(i.e because they were trying to reconcile)

...but from now on..Paragraph 1 is saying if this happens again the agreement is effectually void.

Hope this helps,
Siobhan

Tatty
Local time: 13:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
 List of stand alone clauses Oct 2, 2012

The link leads to a list of clauses. You have read two separate clauses together. They are indeed two stand alone clauses which say the same thing but using different wording.

"Paragraph 2" as you refer to it, unlike "paragraph 1" contains a definition of what living together is for the purpose of the agreement - a total of 3 months of cohabitation - which also includes the intention to reconcile.

Both "paragraphs" refer to a single agreement. (There is no original and subsequent agreement).

HTH

xxxdeleted.
Australia
Local time: 09:55
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
 Provided that Oct 3, 2012

Thanks Kelly and Tatty. I realized that the culprit that caused my confusion is the word "provided", I cannot understand what it means in this context. So I focused on this "provided", and I'm happy to learn that it is not me, it is the lawyers. The following is a good explanation about how lawyers use the word "provided" in a different way than we average folks do: (source: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/dept-min/pub/legis/rm-mr/part4/provide.html)

Grammatically, the word "provided" followed by a noun clause (for example, "provided that it does not rain" or simply "provided it does not rain") indicates a true condition. "Provided" and "provided that" are correctly used if they can be replaced by the word "if".

However, at least by the legal community, the words "provided" and "provided that" have been given other roles. As Driedger states, the proviso has been used as "an all purpose conjunction, invented by lawyers but not known to or understood by grammarians".[1]

"Provided" and "provided that" have been used by the legal community to set up a condition, to create an exception to or a qualification of a general rule, and to create an additional requirement. The meaning in a particular instance will depend on the context. The practice of assigning multiple functions to the words "provided" or "provided that" can lead to ambiguity. Sometimes it is not possible to determine from the context what meaning to give them.

In order to avoid any ambiguity, "provided" and "provided that" should never be used in drafting regulations. They should be replaced by the appropriate conjunction, such as "if" or "when" for a condition, "unless", "but", "except that" or "nevertheless" for an exception or qualification, and "and" or a semi-colon for an additional requirement. The regulatory provision might also be rewritten to avoid the need for a proviso altogether.

There is no objection to using the verb "provide" as a transitive verb or followed by the word "for" or "against".

[Edited at 2012-10-03 01:03 GMT]

QUOI

Chinese to English
+ ...
 general and exception Oct 3, 2012

Paragraph 1 is the general rule (living together nullifies the agreement) with an exception stated in paragraph 2 (if for the stated purpose and within the length of time then paragraph 1 doesn't apply).

Recommend:

Plain language for lawyers (3rd Edition, Michele Asprey, the Federation Press)

[Edited at 2012-10-03 08:18 GMT]

LilianNekipelov
United States
Local time: 08:55
Russian to English
+ ...
 Hi, Li. Oct 3, 2012

Legal language does not have that much to do with regular language -- everyday language, standard English grammar rules. It has rules of its own. There are courses and books which teach legal language. You may have a look at some of them. It really helps a lot.

xxxdeleted.
Australia
Local time: 09:55
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
 Plain language for lawyers Oct 3, 2012

quoi wrote:

Paragraph 1 is the general rule (living together nullifies the agreement) with an exception stated in paragraph 2 (if for the stated purpose and within the length of time then paragraph 1 doesn't apply).

Recommend:

Plain language for lawyers (3rd Edition, Michele Asprey, the Federation Press)

[Edited at 2012-10-03 08:18 GMT]

Thanks, quoi. I checked out the book you recommended on amazon.com, it seems to me that the book is intended to help lawyers to write in simple language so that other people can understand. It is not intended to help other people to understand the complicated language used by lawyers, right?

QUOI

Chinese to English
+ ...
 The book is written by a lawyer for lawyers... Oct 4, 2012

but you don't have to be a lawyer to read it, and use it for your own benefit.

xxxdeleted.
Australia
Local time: 09:55
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
 Cannot see the benefit for a translator Oct 4, 2012

quoi wrote:

but you don't have to be a lawyer to read it, and use it for your own benefit.

I cannot see how it can benefit me since it is very unlikely that I shall ever need to write a legal document myself. And if laywers read that book and start to write in simple words, then I don't need to read the book to understand the lawyers. What I need is a book that explains difficult legal words to people, and from what you told me, this book does not do that.

QUOI

Chinese to English
+ ...
 What you need is something like this Oct 4, 2012

Li He wrote:
I cannot see how it can benefit me since it is very unlikely that I shall ever need to write a legal document myself. And if laywers read that book and start to write in simple words, then I don't need to read the book to understand the lawyers. What I need is a book that explains difficult legal words to people, and from what you told me, this book does not do that.

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:55
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
 indeed! Oct 4, 2012

quoi wrote:

Li He wrote:
I cannot see how it can benefit me since it is very unlikely that I shall ever need to write a legal document myself. And if laywers read that book and start to write in simple words, then I don't need to read the book to understand the lawyers. What I need is a book that explains difficult legal words to people, and from what you told me, this book does not do that.

And if you have a hard time finding quoi's suggested book, a good second and third best would be:

• Garner's Dictionary of Legal Usage (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Garners-Dictionary-Legal-Usage-Garner/dp/0195384202/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349343687&sr=8-1 ) +

• Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, by Kenneth A. Adams (http://www.amazon.com/Manual-Style-Contract-Drafting-Kenneth/dp/1604420286 )

You might think these books are only written for lawyers, but since we as translators actually need to 'rewrite' contracts in a different language, we too need to master the language of contracts...

Michael

[Edited at 2012-10-04 09:53 GMT]

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:55
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
 another great resource! Oct 4, 2012

I just stumbled across another resource that might be of interest to anyone translating, or drafting, contracts:

I heard about it on a blog called 'From Words to Deeds: translation & the law ~ Building bridges – between academia and practice and between translators, interpreters and legal professionals' (http://wordstodeeds.com/ )

Here is how they describe it:

'Thanks to Richard Delaney, of City University, London and his Twitter feed, I have just discovered a fantastic resource produced by Eversheds (an international law firm headquartered in London, with 45 offices in 28 countries).

The 140-page guide, entitled Legal Drafting in English: The big picture on the small print, downloadable in PDF form free of charge, is a mine of information. The authors describe it as follows:“This Eversheds guide to legal drafting in English is not a dictionary, grammar book or academic tome. Neither is it a comprehensive look at aspects of English in a legal context. Instead, it is a pioneering attempt to provide some practical assistance to busy lawyers around the world whose native language is not English but who, in the course of their daily work, need to read, write, negotiate and converse in ‘legal English’.“

The layout is very pleasant, and the guide is full of useful nuggets such as: colorful legal phrases, new legal concepts, a bluffer’s guide to legal terms around the globe, ambiguities, a large section on false friends and another on ‘similar words’, drafting tips, as well as a useful bibliography.

It goes without saying that the guide will also be invaluable to translators, as well as to lawyers working internationally.'

http://wordstodeeds.com/2012/10/03/legal-drafting-guide-worth-its-weight-in-gold/

Michael

xxxdeleted.
Australia
Local time: 09:55
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
 A fake book Oct 5, 2012

Thank you, Michael Beijer! I have downloaded the online book and I may open a twitter account. I have also put the other two books in my shopping basket and will check them out.

Don't waste your time looking for the book quoi recommended, it is not a real book, it is an image produced with photoshop. You can see the heading is not corretly aligned with the DUMMIES part and the author part is deleted from the image.

QUOI

Chinese to English
+ ...

I thought it was obvious enough. Sorry to see you actually spent time on studying the cover.

Li He wrote:
Don't waste your time looking for the book quoi recommended, it is not a real book, it is an image produced with photoshop. You can see the heading is not corretly aligned with the DUMMIES part and the author part is deleted from the image.

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:55
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
 @quoi: Oct 5, 2012

You didn't fool me – I'm quite a Photoshop wizard myself

Nice try though!

Michael

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