Modern Tendencies and Characteristics of Legal Writing in English for Specific Purposes

AuthorGreta Përgjegji
PositionAlbanian Academy of Armed Forces
IIPCCL Publishing, Tirana-Albania
Academic Journal of Business, Administration, Law and Social Sciences Vol. 1 No. 3
November 2015
ISSN 2410-3918
Acces online at
Modern Tendencies and Characteristics of Legal Writing in English for
Specific Purposes
MSc. Greta Përgjegji
Albanian Academy of Armed Forces
The article with the title ‘’Modern tendencies and characteristics of Legal Writing in English
for Specific Purposes’’ deals with the study of legal writing and its teaching in professional
linguistic contexts, where writing is considered as a means of communication between two
communities that have different languages, but share the same knowledge or expertise. The
article describes some key features of legal writing as part of Writing for Specific Purposes.
The historical background gives a hint on how the legal writing was considered at its
beginnings, how it evolved and how it was taught through years. It also discusses the
controversial issue whether writing should be taught together with the legal reasoning or
not, taking into consideration the fact that the process of writing itself for most students is
considered to be of a more complicated nature than the process of the legal reasoning. The
characteristics of legal writing describe the specificities and the intricacies that the legal jargon
implies, the archaic words, wordiness and the awkward sentence structure. Modern tendencies
place emphasizes on another aspect of legal writing nowadays; that of writing in Plain English
which implies a breaking of the cycle of the complicated writing toward a simplified way of
writing, through a tiring and long process of writing where the reader is at the center of it.
This means that every writing has been produced having the reader in mind implying that
the general public that does not have a legal background should be able to understand it.
Keywords: Legal writing, professional context, Plain English, Legalese, Writing for Specific
Writing is an important part in the professional life of a lawyer. It is a very complicated
productive skill in which the lawyer or the paralegal has to practice a lot. Writing in a
professional context doesn’t make the life of the writer easy and it becomes even
more difficult when this writing occurs in a second language, since while writing the
writer has to take into consideration the social and the cultural context or aspect in
which it occurs. The reasons might be different starting from the fact that the mother
tongue and the second language do not have the same structures.
Legal writing as one of the types of ESP writing is one of the most complicated ones,
since the writing process here doesn’t imply only the physical aspect of it but also the
legal reasoning that is behind it. A good piece of writing in Legal English means a lot
of practice in learning how to write it, after the writer has gathered the information
done the reasoning and at the putting everything into black on white.
Legal writing has undergone through a long way to become what is now, in the sense
that it has changed through time, since different approaches have been used. One of
the problematic matter related to it is the legal jargon or differently known as the

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