10 Important Elements of Legal Drafting. The process of drafting operates in two planes: the conceptual and the verbal. Learn how to improve your legal drafting skills.
Legal drafting can be defined as the synthesis of law and fact in a language form. This is the essence of the process of drafting. All three characteristics rank equally in importance. It is the development and preparation of legal instruments such as constitutions, statutes, regulations, ordinances, contracts, wills, conveyances, indentures, trusts and leases, etc. The process of drafting operates in two planes: the conceptual and the verbal. Besides seeking the right words, the draftsman seeks the right concepts. Drafting, therefore, is first thinking and second composing. Drafting, in a legal sense, means an act of preparing the legal documents like notices, contracts, affidavits etc. 1. Be clear… Be clear as to what the document means to say, does not mean to say and need not say. Make your self well-versed with various provisions of laws the legal document deals with. 2. Remove the ambiguity… Try to clear all the ambiguous instances from the document. The statements made in the documents should not communicate more than one concept… 3. Be precise… The matter to be covered by a draft should be precise and concise. It must convey the complete message for which it is prepared. The reader should feel inspired by it. 4. Clarity… There must be clarity and preciseness not only in each sentence but also in the overall presentation of the draft. There must be a nexus between sentences and different paragraphs. The draft shall be in sequence and relevant to the subject matter. 5. Unilateralism… be prepared for vetting, review without necessarily accepting casual and non-contextual suggestions. Clarity as to the bare minimum contents you require for protecting and safeguarding your interest has to be adhered to. 6. Remember the chronology… If the document is supplementary to any other master document/s make sure to comply with master documents and other supplements as well. If needed, draft the details of the other documents in a chronological order. 7. Define important things… Include a chapter of definitions to define and explain the important technical concepts relating to the document. Make sure to adhere to the definitions throughout the document. The chapter containing the definitions is placed at the beginning of the document. 8. Adaptability… The matter to be included in a draft must be adaptable to the factual position, to the circumstances of the case and feasible/suitable to the enforcement. 9. Lucidity… The language and words used while drafting must be lucid, simple and appropriate to the situation. There should not be longer sentences or paragraphs. It must convey the message involved in it to a person of ordinary prudence. The language must be polite and make the other side form a good opinion. 10. Be Logical… So that the risk of omission and repetition is minimized. Comply with incidental mandatory requirements… such as stamping of documents, registration, vetting, etc. Respect precedent and forms… without converting yourself into a mechanical follower, so that allegations like “non-application of mind” or “cut and paste” technologist can be avoided.
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