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Plain language in Mauritius: an empirical study of legal communication in Mauritius

Ambareen Beebeejaun (Department of Law, University of Mauritius, Reduit, Mauritius)

International Journal of Law and Management

ISSN: 1754-243X

Article publication date: 8 February 2023

Issue publication date: 16 February 2023

139

Abstract

Purpose

Irrespective of various forms of language existent worldwide, it is still imperative that recipients of professional legal advice be communicated in clear terms to avoid a chaotic situation and to better fulfil obligations and enjoy the rights to which they are entitled to appropriately. As such, the objectives of this paper are twofold: firstly, this paper aims to assess the extent to which clients of the legal profession prefer plain over traditional legal language in Mauritius, a country using a myriad of languages, and secondly, to suggest recommendations for the legal stakeholders in Mauritius regarding guidelines and mechanisms on plain language provisions.

Design/methodology/approach

This study will use a desk-based research methodology by analysing existing literature on the importance of plain language in legal writing. In addition, an empirical study will be conducted to gather information on clients’ preferences in legal communication.

Findings

The responses were received on a complete anonymous basis, and it was found that in general, clients of the legal profession in Mauritius are more at ease when law practitioners use simple, direct and straightforward terms, sentences structured in active voice rather than passive voice or the use of legal jargons or complicated words. These clients also prefer when their legal advisers explain the legal meaning or interpretation in a document or agreement even if these advices may be longer than shorter sentences with only the legal jargons.

Originality/value

At present, there are few literature on the researched topic and this study will be among the first academic writings on the effectiveness of using plain language in legal documentation in Mauritius. The study is carried out with the aim of combining a large amount of empirical, theoretical and factual information that can be of use to various stakeholders and not only to academics.

Keywords

Citation

Beebeejaun, A. (2023), "Plain language in Mauritius: an empirical study of legal communication in Mauritius", International Journal of Law and Management, Vol. 65 No. 2, pp. 172-188. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLMA-08-2022-0194

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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