Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2014


As Orwell's title intimates, the essay included criticism of political writing done by government officials and private observers. The essay's staying power, however, transcends the political arena. By calling on writers of all persuasions to "simplify your English," Orwell helped trigger the plain English movement, which still influences legislators, courts, administrative agencies, and law school legal writing classes.

This article proceeds in two parts. First I describe how judges, when they challenge colleagues or advocates in particular cases, still quote from Orwell's plea for clear expression and careful reasoning. Then I present Orwell's diagnosis of maladies that plagued contemporary prose, together with his six curative rules and their continuing relevance for today's lawyers and judges.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.