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!



Saturday, May 19, 2007

Word of the Week

Appurtenance

Never buy a house if you can buy a house and its appurtenances. Appurtenance is legalese for "a thing connected to something else." How's that for precision? In fact, you could substitute the word "thing" for appurtenance in most sentences without any loss of meaning. In the context of that house purchase, an "appurtenance" would be things like fixtures that go along with the house.

The word comes from Anglo-French apurtenance, and ultimately from the Latin appertinire ("to belong"). As the Latin root suggests, an appurtenance was originally a right that belonged to some other property or position. Hence the phrase "the rights and privileges appurtenant thereto." We're all connected, but we're not all appurtenant.