The Business of Words; Whose domain?

| September 1, 2002
The Business of Words; Whose domain?

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Thomas Davidson

Bio Data
The first submission is by presented by Mr. Thomas Davidson, a lawyer from Hong Kong. Mr. Davidson received his LL.B. from Oxford, and later obtained an Ma in Education from the South Australian University. He has been practicing for 27 years, has appeared before Supreme Courts in Australia, and in the High Court and Old Bailey in London. Currently he is practicing in the field of International Law and Consumer Protection.

“Politicians frame words.
Lawyers play with words.
Judges interpret words.
Teachers teach words!”

Both the teaching of English and the practice of law have one thing in common. They both concentrate on ‘words.’ For the civil lawyer drafting a contract, he looks at each word, and carefully adds or deletes a word such that his contract is not vague or capable of two meanings. He uses words such as, ‘may,’ ‘must,’ can’t,’ ‘shan’t,’ ‘will,’ etc, in deciding what degree of essentially he wants attached such that the other side knows exactly what it is the contract is saying. But this type of law is limited to the written word. Similarly, the law of intestacy (or wills,) is on the whole, written in precise unambiguous wording; though video wills are gaining popularity in some places.


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