Rewriting documents

We specialise in rewriting existing documents into plain English.

We have extensive experience in rewriting documents such as leases, insurance policies, government forms, and legislation.

The aim of the rewrite is to make a document reader-friendly yet legally precise. Usually, the rewrite is shorter than the original, because it cuts down on wordiness and needless legalisms. Sometimes, though, it is longer, because it needs to explain concepts or words.

To illustrate the benefits of a plain English rewrite, here is a "before and after" example of a clause from a building contract. Notice that this rewrite is not substantially shorter than the original, because it does not fudge on key content. But it is easier to read because it is broken down into smaller "chunks". And quite apart from the benefits of clearer layout and simpler language, the rewrite lays bare some confusing concepts which the original's complexity may have obscured.

Before

Determination by Employer

1.    If the Main Contractor shall make default in any one or more of the following respects, that is to say:-

(a)  If he without reasonable cause wholly suspends the carrying our of the Works before completion thereof, or
(b)  If he fails to proceed regularly and diligently with the Works, or
(c)  If he refuses or persistently neglects to comply with a written notice from the Architect requiring him to remove defective work or improper materials or goods and by such refusal or neglect the Works are materially affected, or
(d)  If he fails to comply with the provisions of clause 17 of these Conditions,

then the Architect may give to him a notice by registered post or recorded delivery specifying the default, and if the Main Contractor either shall continue such default for fourteen days after receipt of such notice or shall at any time thereafter repeat such default (whether previously repeated or not), then the Employer without prejudice to any other rights or remedies, may within ten days after such continuance or repetition by notice by registered post or recorded delivery forthwith determine the employment of the Main Contractor under this Contract, provided that such notice shall not be given unreasonably or vexatiously.

[206 words]

 

After

Termination by Employer

1.1  This clause sets out the Employer's right to terminate the Main Contractor's employment under this Contract if the Main Contractor commits certain defaults.

1.2  The defaults are:

(a)  without reasonable cause, failing to proceed with or complete the Works;

(b)  refusing, or persistently neglecting, to comply with a written notice from the Architect requiring removal of

• defective work, or

• improper materials or goods,

as a result of which the Works are materially affected;

(c)  breaching clause 17.

1.3  If the Main Contractor commits any of those defaults, the Architect may give the Main Contractor a notice specifying the default.

1.4  If the Main Contractor continues the default for 14 days after receiving the notice, or at any later time repeats the default, the Employer may then give the Main Contractor 10 days' notice terminating its employment under this Contract.

1.5  A notice of termination under clause 1.4:

(a)  is ineffective if given unreasonably or vexatiously; and

(b)  does not affect the Employer's other rights or remedies.

1.6  Notices under this clause 1 must be sent by registered post or recorded delivery.

[184 words]