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Book Chapter

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The achievement of current demands for clearer legal drafting in the United States (New York, 1973 and President's Executive Order, 1978) and Great Britain (Renton Report, 1975) can be aided by applying modern logic to improve the language of the law. In considering how the expression of legal norms can be clarified by using some formal language techniques, particular attention will be given to alternatives for dealing with problems of inadvertent imprecision in current legal drafting, alternatives that facilitate human understanding as well as enhance the possibilities for analysis by computer. A brief sketch of the imprecision of the expression of legal norms will help place in context the discussion of this L-trio: language, law, and logic. This imprecision can be categorized into two types of uncertainty: the uncertainty that results from what is omitted in the writing and the uncertainty that results from what is written. Both of these types of uncertainty may be deliberate by the drafter of the document, or they may occur inadvertently. Here, attention is being focused on the inadvertent written uncertainties.