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Legalese – The language of LAW

The law society and all who operate with law – lawyers, barristers, judges, police, CPS etc, use a language which appears to be like English, but has subtle differences unknown to those outside, this language is called legalese. A few examples:

• May is synonymous with Must. If a legal document suggests something may be required, it actually means it must be supplied

• Understand means to Stand Under. If a police officer asks you if you understand, he is actually asking you to stand under his authority, if you say yes; you agree to grant him authority over you.

• Summons is synonymous with invitation. If you receive a summons, you are actually being invited to attend a court; you may choose to decline the invite. A summons sounds more intimidating

• A notice is not a bill, invoice or demand, it is only an offer to contract

• Anything is synonymous with everything. “Anything you say can be used in court against you” means everything you say!

• Can is synonymous with will. Anything you say CAN be used in court against you” means everything you say WILL be used against you.

The definitive Law Dictionary is the latest version of Blacks Law, currently version 7. It is interesting to note that the meanings of some words in Blacks have changed over versions.

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