Globalizing Legal Drafting: What the Chinese Can Teach Us About Ejusdem Generis and All that
The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, p. 41, 2007
10 Pages Posted: 11 May 2013
Date Written: February 28, 2004
This article provides one example of how experience with another language (Chihnese) and legal system (the Chinese legal system) can help improve the drafting of contracts in English that are governed by American law. The article describes the author's experience in drafting and negotiating English-Chinese bilingual contracts for which the challenge is to ensure that both texts are consistent. One difficulty occurs when the language is equivalent, but the legal effect is different. An example of this is enumerations to which the interpretive canon ejusdem generis is often applied in English. But the Chinese language and the Chinese legal system do not have the concept of ejusdem generis. The article sugggests a method by which this discrepancy between the two texts can be overcome. It then concludes by noting that this method can be used in English-only legal documents to create a global drafting style that can avoid ambiguity and make these documents more accurate and transparent.
Keywords: globalization, legal drafting, contract drafting, Chinese, ejusdem generis, canons of interpretation, class presumption
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