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49 votes
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Why is the structure of the US Code so poor? (And would it even be legal to reorganize it?)

Are there any underlying reasons behind the nonsensical structure of U.S.C. titles? Is it simply a case of "This is how it's been for awhile, don't fix what isn't broken." or is there more to it ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
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47 votes

Why don't laws have examples?

The law does have examples They are called “judgements” Every case decided by a court is an example, in common law jurisdictions at least. When those cases are decided by an superior court they ...
Dale M's user avatar
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44 votes
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Why do lawyers write contracts with language that is more difficult to understand than other works?

There Is Little Pressure To Improve Contract Drafting One piece of the puzzle is tradition and habitual writing style. A customary writing style for legal documents evolved over time, some of those ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 220k
26 votes

Why is the structure of the US Code so poor? (And would it even be legal to reorganize it?)

Congress is reorganizing the U.S. Code. Positive Law Codification: Section 205(c) of House Resolution No. 988, 93d Congress, as enacted into law by Public Law 93-554 (2 U.S.C. 285b), provides the ...
K-C's user avatar
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26 votes

Why do lawyers write contracts with language that is more difficult to understand than other works?

Why do lawyers write contracts with language that is more difficult to understand that other works? Because if contracts were written easy to understand, lay persons wouldn't need lawyers to explain ...
Greendrake's user avatar
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17 votes

Why don't laws have examples?

The problem with examples is that they shift our attention from the words that comprise the law, to the actual examples used. For example, the term "press" as used in the First Amendment used to refer ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
15 votes

Why don't laws have examples?

Laws can and do include examples Laws can and do include examples - for example, searching for the incantation "including but not limited to" in legislation draws up thousands of cases where laws ...
Peteris's user avatar
  • 2,199
11 votes
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What wording should I use to include non-binary pronouns in a contract?

I think you're viewing the use of pronouns and contracts wrong. You are speaking to the Licensee, not some third person. So you would say "You agree to give us all your bases", not "...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
11 votes

Why do lawyers write contracts with language that is more difficult to understand than other works?

Information asymmetry. You are assuming that most of the times the contractual parties have the same negotiating power, but that is not the case. The majority of the contract are designed to be clear ...
FluidCode's user avatar
  • 530
10 votes
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What is a Writ and who can issue one?

A "writ" is a formal written order issued by a court to another entity. A "writ of mandamus" is an order to a lower court or government official to do something they are obliged to ...
Lag's user avatar
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9 votes

What is a Writ and who can issue one?

Generally, a writ is an order of a court specifically issued to another governmental agency or official (including judges and courts), directing that agency or official to take or refrain from taking ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 220k
8 votes

What wording should I use to include non-binary pronouns in a contract?

To be clear, you would once at the beginning of the contract define for example who the Licensee and the Licensor are, and then use these terms everywhere throughout the contract. Avoid pronouns since ...
gnasher729's user avatar
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7 votes

Why is the structure of the US Code so poor? (And would it even be legal to reorganize it?)

ohwilleke's answer is an excellent overview. I will attempt to resolve these specific examples you gave. Why is a "machine gun" defined under Title 26 - Internal Revenue Code, when every single ...
Richie Frame's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Why are there quirky ASCII dividers in deposition transcripts?

It's a typographic divider line dating back to the days of typewriting; there's a passing reference to the practice on the Typography for Lawyers website. Standards for formatting documents -- ...
jeffronicus's user avatar
7 votes

Can an unwritten law be considered a law, with legal effect?

Different socities, including some that are not considered sovereign nations, create laws, that is enforceable rules of conduct, in different ways. Not all write them down. But they are all Law in ...
David Siegel's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Is the Supreme Court's in-house citation style manual publicly available?

A version republishing the Reporter's style guide is available on SSRN and for purchase on Amazon. It was edited in 2016, purportedly based on a 2013 copy of the Court's private style guide that the ...
Jen's user avatar
  • 59.2k
6 votes

How do you pronounce and hand-write the symbol §?

It stands for section. As in "section 8 article b" or whatever.
Putvi's user avatar
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6 votes

Why do lawyers write contracts with language that is more difficult to understand than other works?

On the one hand, there does exist a trend in law in favor of more user-friendly drafting. On the other hand, there is a trend that is almost a millennium old that what worked before, you can count on ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
4 votes
Accepted

If you must include all of the natural language prose in a legal document, or if it can be abstracted out

That is, you don't even have to give them a copy of the contract. In the same way you might reference some legal code without actually copying the legal code directly into the contract. If you do not ...
Greendrake's user avatar
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4 votes
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Is the formalism "I put you on notice" important, in UK law, or can a less formal wording be equivalent?

The language "I therefore place you on notice that" in your proposed missive is superfluous and adds nothing that is legally relevant. Flourishes like that are common among former paralegals, court ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 220k
4 votes

Can an improperly drafted contract be invalidated?

Do I have any recourse for invalidating all or part of the contract? No. There is a presumption in contract law that when a contract is reduced to writing then what that writing says is what the ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
4 votes
Accepted

Legalistic reading of passport Law

The key word is "uses". What does it mean to use a passport? It means providing it as evidence of identity. No one acting in a movie is attempting to convince anyone else - in real life - of their ...
George White's user avatar
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4 votes
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In a contract/an agreement, is there a difference between clause, article and section?

While "clause" has a specific definition in linguistics, that is not how it is used in laws and legal documents. These terms have no standard definition for legal writing. Documents or legal ...
David Siegel's user avatar
4 votes

Is the use of the singular "they/their/them" in legal writing and legislative drafting recognized to be acceptable / appropriate?

canada Guidance from the Government of Canada Yes. The Government of Canada's guide on legislative drafting has a section on gender-neutral language. It emphasizes that "gender-specific language ...
Jen's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

If legal code numbers ever get revised

The US Code can be reorganized. This page gives details of the structure of the US Code. As an example or renumbering, current 42 USC 5186 was first created as section 416 of Public Law 93-288, and 42 ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
3 votes

How can issues be solved with the IRAC method?

You don't really "solve" a problem with IRAC. It is a rubric for summarizing cases and writing about how a legal issue was or should be resolved. As noted by @Putvi it stands for issue, rule, ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 220k
3 votes

How do you pronounce and hand-write the symbol §?

It's pronounced "section" and usually referred to as "the section sign." I've also seen it called a "silcrow," which is a neologism derived from its similarities to the pilcrow, and which I prefer ...
bdb484's user avatar
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3 votes
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What are the different kinds of rules/procedures that describe what counts-as/constitutes a rule change and what kinds of problems can they cause?

Why do you want to know? I think that the reason this question seems so obscure is because it does not involve sufficient context and specificity. It can't be answered until one knows the reason that ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 220k
3 votes

Is it decorous to refer to mainstays (people recurring in a legal document) by abbreviations?

No. In formal writing, you refer to people by name. After you use their full name you can just use their last name in future references, but you don't refer to them by their initials. Even in informal ...
cpast's user avatar
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3 votes
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Can an improperly drafted contract be invalidated?

Whether or not a lawsuit against the attorney is at all practical is a matter that only your other attorney can advise you on (after carefully studying the facts). The primary question is whether the ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k

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