Be Clear! The Role of Clarity in Legal Communication


  • Karin Luttermann Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt


The rights of persons with disabilities have been strengthened in the past years. The impulse came from the passing of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its adoption in many parts of the world. In Germany, its ratification has led to numerous measures (laws, projects) for the creation of an inclusive society. Language is of special importance in this context. Easy Language is a form of barrier-free communication and is meant to make (specialist) information and (professional) communication accessible to certain target groups (among others, persons with mental disabilities, aphasia, German as a second language). It originated from practice-oriented work. Theoretically and empirically assessing its possibilities, potentials and limits urgently requires linguistic research, too. On a text linguistic basis, the contribution argues for the use of Clear Language and for a wider perspective on the concept of lay persons within expert-lay communication. The key question is how legal texts can be clearly formulated and conveyed to the addressees (including the average person)? – What is offered here is a sound solution: the Comprehensibility Model of Legal Language (“Rechtslinguistisches Versta?ndlichkeitsmodell”).