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Words that can make lawyers look bad*

* if used incorrectly

Lawyers need to be skilled at many things, but the use of language is one of the most important skills that you can have. Whether you are delivering a speech in the courtroom or drafting a contract, the need for the right wording can make a huge difference.


1. Insure and Ensure

Insure is the verb for insurance and ensure is a synonym of 'to make sure.' Even some native speakers get this confused but it should be easy to remember.


2. Arbitration and Mediation

Mediation allows for a third party to try and find agreement between two opposing parties. In the UK, it is frequently used in commercial law as well as family law. Arbitration, or binding arbitration, is usually used in employment law in the UK. This means that an independent arbitrator hears the evidence and make a decision that must be followed by all parties.


3. Waiver and Waver

These are easily confused to the uninitiated. If you are wavering on something then you are reluctant to agree to it at the moment whereas a waiver is a document or clause that indicates that you are giving up your right to something.


4. Farther and Further

You may occasionally see 'We write further to your letter of X' in the introduction of business letters. Do not confuse this with the word 'farther' which refers to geographical distance.


5. Practical and Practicable

Practicable is a synonym of easy to put into practice as defined by Grammarist. If something is practical, it is considered useful and you can use it as a synonym of that word.


For further information on learning Legal English or preparing for the TOLES exam, contact us by email or by filling out the form on this page.

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Legal English Vocabulary
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