I'm working on a NFP organisation constitution with a group of fellow members - we're very small.

There is a line "Save as provided in this Constitution...". And I'm thinking that whoever wrote that must have had 10 coffees or something, because it's woefully pretentious.

Any suggestions for simpler opening? Perhaps there is a legal reason for such language and it should stay?

  • It's a good catchall phrase.
    – Viktor
    Apr 6, 2016 at 2:03
  • Subject to other provisions ...
    – Dale M
    Apr 6, 2016 at 3:01

1 Answer 1


There is no automatic translation of micro-snippets of legalese into plain English, and optimal best re-phrasing would have to take into consideration the entire sentence and intent of the statement / clause. This particular snippet is typically used to mean "Except as", so you could just make that revision. The problem is that this is probably bad drafting even from the perspective of ponderous legalese, since the "Save as" exception needs to be paired with a contrasting qualifier like otherwise, elsewhere, expressely. Here is a sample translation from legalese to ordinary English.

Original: "Save as otherwise provided in this Constitution, meetings of the executive officers shall be exclusively set by the chairman of the board". Plain English: "The chairman of the board may call meetings of the executive officers. Section X Subsection 1 and Section XII Subsection 4 specify the only other conditions for a meeting of the executive officers". Note that you don't have to wonder where "as otherwise provided" is spelled out.

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