The Use of Legalese in Non-Policy Debate Resolutions.Report as inadecuate

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This paper explores the use of "legalese" in non-policy debate resolutions. After defining legalese as legal jargon and terminology, the paper discusses how resolutional words and terms function within intercollegiate debate. It next deals with the purpose and practice of legal jargon within legal scholarship and practice, noting that there is increasing recognition within law schools and law offices that legalese has declining value. The paper then discusses the effect of legalese within Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) advocacy, maintaining that it provides much more confusion than clarity. The paper concludes that since legalese has little potential for a positive effect on students' advocacy or their future careers, and since it does not make the resolution more commonly understood, its use should be discouraged. Seventeen footnotes are included. (SR)

Descriptors: Debate, Higher Education, Jargon, Language Role, Language Styles, Speech Communication

Author: Collier, Linda M.


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