Making law accessible to the ordinary person

The use of simpler language is one step in a broader effort to redesign the law to be more human-centred and intelligible.

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Most people are not able to understand legal language on their own. Though technically they can access the law, they are not in any position to vindicate their own rights or defend themselves against legal challenges.

The Courts (Civil and Criminal Justice) Reform Act 2021 passed in Parliament last month is a welcome step forward in this regard. Though the Act contains many important changes, it is those to simplify legal terminology that are interesting and have the potential to dramatically improve public access to justice.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2021, with the headline Making law accessible to the ordinary person. Subscribe