That Girl with the Pen

Why do lawyers use the term null and void?

“Why do lawyers use the term null and void? According to the dictionary, either null or void by itself would do the job. But the lawyer’s pen seems impelled to write null and void, as though driven by primordial instinct. An occasional lawyer, perhaps believing that null and void looks naked by itself, will write totally null and void, or perhaps totally null and void and of no further force or effect whatsoever. ”

– Richard C. Wydick, Plain English for Lawyers

A friend explained it this way

Correct, Concise, and Complete and clear, 4 Cs describe “characteristics of good legal writing style”There are different kinds (genres) of legal writing: for example, academic legal writing as in law journals, juridical legal writing as in court judgments, and legislative legal writing as in laws, regulations, contracts, and treaties. In general, a legal language is a formalized language based on logic rules which differs from the ordinary natural language in vocabulary, morphology,syntax , and semantics , as well as other linguistic features, aimed to achieve consistency , validity ,
completeness and soundness…while keeping the meaning and at the same time giving it the umph that it intends.

Another explanation

Lawyers like creating an aura of mystery around the law. They use Latinate words, and long words as well. They wear funny gowns and wigs. It is a tradition they rarely want to demystify. But law as Prof. Lord Bill Wederburn said, is not a mystery, although it uses long words.


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