A Guide to Gender-Inclusive Legal Writing

Read the British Columbia Law Institute’s newly published guide, “Gender Diversity in Legal Writing: Pronouns, Honorifics, and Gender-Inclusive Techniques,” (June 27, 2022), which urges legal scholars to make a conscious shift to inclusive and expansive language, particularly regarding gender and gender identity, in their writings.

Read the abstract below:

Like the law, language and styles of writing evolve over time to meet the needs of new generations. One such shift is towards language that reflects a modern understanding of gender and gender identity. Inclusivity can no longer be limited to masculine and feminine but must be extended to include people who identify as non-binary, agender, two spirited, or genderqueer. To meet these needs, the British Columbia Law Institute is creating a guide to "Gender Diversity in Legal Writing: Pronouns, Honorifics, and Gender-Inclusive Techniques."
Legal writing comprises many forms: legislation, court submissions, opinion letters, transactional writing (e.g., contracts, wills), communications with clients and other lawyers, legal memoranda, legal texts and academic writing, court forms, judgments and decisions, and other reports and papers. Ultimately, the writer must choose the gender inclusive techniques needed for their audience and subject matter. The methods and tools explored in this publication give legal writers guidance to consider inclusivity in their writing.
The Guide:
- Defines terms and addresses common misconceptions associated with certain terminology (e.g., transgender, not transgendered);
- Outlines techniques to reflect inclusivity and gender neutrality, including review of honorifics, greetings, and pronouns;
- Provides examples of how to incorporate gender inclusivity into one’s own writing style; and
- Provides a list of resources for legal writers who want to learn more.

Find the attached article here. 


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