Do you enjoy reading something, not understanding it and then having to look it up online when plain, simple language could have been used? I don't!
Jargon is defined as ‘the specialised language or the technical vocabulary of a profession or group’.
Unfortunately, in the legal world it is all too common to come across unnecessary jargon -- be it from a 'grandiose' opponent on the other side of a claim through correspondence fraught with intellectual insecurity or when trying to interpret archaic wording in a contract.
Some of my favourite examples include:
"Involuntarily undomiciled" instead of "homeless"
"twixt" instead of "between"
"therewithal" instead of "besides"
Jargon does have its place in the legal profession. An example of this is the use of the word "probate" between legal professionals rather than having to keep saying "the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under a valid will".
However, the danger with using jargon is that it can lead to the ambiguous interpretation of important documents. This can result in wording being reasonably subject to more than one interpretation through the use of vague or unclear language.
The courts take a dim view on ambiguous language and case law supports that they will tend to favour the party who may suffer the consequences of any offending wording in a document.
As the linked article shows, the pitfalls of jargon can literally tear families apart.
Next time you receive correspondence that makes no sense through the use of unnecessary jargon, you may wish to politely respond to the writer by highlighting the wording in question and request a translation of the offending wording into "Plain, Simple, English"!
Our increasing tendency towards linguistic obfuscation becomes distinctly unamusing, however, when critical, life-changing documents like social workers’ reports are so badly and bombastically written as to be incomprehensible to all concerned.