Drafting Conventions Act
Drafting ConventionsI. GENERAL
1. The organization of an Act should be logical.
A logically organized text usually proceeds from the general to the particular and follows the chronological sequence of events. If it deals with matters that occur in a particular order, such as court proceedings of administrative applications, that order should normally be followed. See also Part III on logical arrangement.
2. An Act should be written simply, clearly and concisely, with the required degree of precision, and as much as possible in ordinary language.
Simplicity and conciseness of language can be made to exist with precision in a well organized text. It is important not to exaggerate the degree of precision that is required.
3. Sex-specific references should be avoided.
In the English version of an Act, pronouns such as "he", "his" and "him" should not be used if the message is intended to refer to persons of either sex. Instead, the drafter can use "he or she", repeat the noun referred to or use a combination of these methods. Typographical devices such as brackets, virgules and hyphens are unseemly and distracting and should not be used. It is usually possible to restructure sentences so as to avoid the problem altogether.
Nouns that have the appearance of referring to men only should be replaced by terms that can refer to both sexes (for example, use "firefighter" instead of "fireman").
Because French nouns have grammatical rather than natural gender, and because in that language adjectives and past participles must agree with the nouns to which they relate, French solutions to the problems of sex-specific references are necessarily different from those used in the English version. See the French commentary on this point.