THE USE OF NON-DISCRIMINATORY LANGUAGE IN THE LAW

Authors

  • MARY JANE MOSSMAN

Abstract

The use of language is fundamental to law. This paper addresses three reasons why lawyers should use non-discriminatory (and especially non-sexist) language: to promote accuracy in legal writing and speech; to meet current standards of professional integrity and responsibility; and to be consistent with legal norms of equality and non-discrimination in Canadian law. The paper then examines ways of achieving non-discriminatory language in English and French in a number of concrete situations. The paper examines the `false generics" of "l'homme" and "man"; the problems of gender specific pronouns (a problem which has different implications in English and in French); and the use of a non-sexist vocabulary. Finally, it explores briefly the relationship between non-discriminatory language and other aspects of equality in the legal profession.

Keywords:

Legal Theory

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Published

1994-09-01

Issue

Section

Legal Commentary

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