The language of the law: Legal systems rather than legal solutions cause difficulties for business

By | November 10, 2011

legal terminologyI have recently returned from Hong Kong where I co-arranged and attended the International Conference on Access to non-judicial Justice. Presentations from over a dozen countries concentrated on how disputes can be solved without the need to go to court.  Going to court seems to be regarded as just as uncertain, costly, nerve-wracking and lengthy a process across the world as in the UK.

Things are simpler when legal terminology is part of everyday language

What was particularly fascinating is this. When there is an international conference which focuses on courts or court processes, all speakers need to spend the first part of their presentation giving the context – explaining their legal system, how it works in the situation they are describing and what overarching constraints and political issues there may be. In the Hong Kong conference, there was little or no such need – everyone understood what arbitration, conciliation, mediation and the other matters before us meant. Except where the law of a particular land had somehow interfered, the ordinary everyday use of those words was transferable and all delegates understood what was meant and time could be spent on the particular process and its successes and failures.

It is legal systems rather than legal solutions which cause difficulties for business

As most of the forms of alternative dispute resolution we were talking about included dealing with business and commercial matters, it occurred to me that it is legal systems rather than legal solutions which cause difficulties for business.

European law has made business transactions easier

In this time when it is fashionable to scoff at the European Union, perhaps more heed should be had to the impenetrable tangled mass of legal situations there would be in European business dealings if there were still no European law and how impossible that could make effective business transactions in the modern world.

About Chris Gale

Chris graduated from University College Cardiff in 1977 and qualified as a solicitor in 1980. He moved to academia in 1990 with an appointment at the Polytechnic of North London and joined Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds Law School) in 1994, becoming head of undergraduate studies and being responsible for profiling, timetabling and staff development across the School. He joined Bradford University Law School as the inaugural Director of Legal Studies in July 2005.

Specialties: Human rights, Sport and the Law, Public Confidence in the Legal System