Tamsin Constable

South Africa makes Plain English a legal requirement

Here’s a huge result for consumer protection, democracy and Plain English. In South Africa, as of this month, it is now illegal for business documents of any kind to contain language that is difficult to understand.

The Consumer Protection Act, which comes into effect in October 2010, contains specific Plain Language regulations which mean that every contract, booklet, leaflet or any other written material must be written in a way that makes their meaning clear.

The law also applies to marketing and advertising, as well as to consumer agreements. Fellow Plain English enthusiasts The Word Nerds, based in South Africa, have written a longer post about this – it’s well worth reading.

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