What is POFP?

Why do lawyers refer to long documents as briefs and
18-year olds as infants? Why do they use so much Latin when so few of their
clients are Ancient Romans? Is it a conspiracy?

Party of the First Part has the answers! Check out the Website for the
Legalese Hall of Shame; a glossary of legal words linked to Adam Freedman's
columns; tips on writing legal documents in plain English; and more!

Friday, May 18, 2007

What can Browne do for you?

When the subject is dishonesty, lawyers are never at a loss for words – just ask Lord Browne, the former chief executive of BP. Browne, who admittedly gave an “untruthful account” to a British court, now faces the threat of perjury charges in the UK. He also faces a motion for contempt in Texas stemming from allegedly misleading statements that he made in a BP-related litigation.

Perjury and contempt are just two of the many legal terms to describe fibbing. In Black’s Law Dictionary, the entry for false includes a list of twenty-one synonyms, including such stalwarts as false representations, misrepresentations, frauds and deceits, counterfeits and forgeries. The one word you won't fine in Black's is good 0ld-fashioned lying. For more on the many legal euphemisms for lying, read my column.