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I Give You that Orange: Language and Style in Nigerian Legal Writing

22 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2011  

Chinua Asuzu

The Write House; Nigerian Law School

Date Written: November 25, 2011


At this late date in the march of the plain English movement in legal writing, for the Nigerian legal community this article is a pioneering work. It might be a matter of professional pride for me as a Nigerian lawyer and legal writer to be at the forefront of what I hope will become the Nigerian plain English movement. But it is a source of great concern, for me and a very few others, that Nigerian lawyers continue to cling, often tenaciously, to the three Ls that bedevil legal writing: Latinisms, lawyerisms, and legalese.

In this article I call the attention of the legal profession in Nigeria to the plain writing trends in law, and urge them to subscribe.

I recognise that professional resistance to plain English is not restricted to Nigeria, but extends to even the most advanced jurisdictions. Lawyers everywhere tend to be conservative, but the linguistic conservatism of Nigerian lawyers goes beyond the norm. Nigerian lawyers speak, and write, differently from their colleagues and clients from sister common law, English-speaking jurisdictions. This creates serious difficulty in the context of the globalisation of legal services and the opening up of legal markets.

Suggested Citation

Asuzu, Chinua, I Give You that Orange: Language and Style in Nigerian Legal Writing (November 25, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Chinua Asuzu (Contact Author)

The Write House ( email )

16B Hilton Drive
Allen Avenue
Ikeja, Lagos
+2348033412508 (Phone)


Nigerian Law School ( email )

Nigerian Law School,
Victoria Island


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