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Groups and organizations

In the U.S.

The United States is fast becoming a leader in the world-wide plain language movement. In addition to government efforts, several important non-profit organizations and groups of professionals support the movement.

Non-profit organizations

  • The Center for Plain Language is a federally tax-exempt non-profit membership organization made up of people in government, academia, and business who are dedicated to promoting and supporting plain language in the public and private sectors.

  • The Legal Writing Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving legal writing by providing a forum for discussion and scholarship about legal writing, analysis, and research. One of its major activities is to give a Golden Pen Award to recognize persons who have significantly advanced the cause of better legal writing.

  • The Burton Foundation is a volunteer, non-for-profit, academic organization concentrating on legal writing. The Foundation sponsors an awards program that rewards partners in law firms and law school students who use plain, modern language and avoid archaic, stilted legalese.


  • The “Plain Language” column in the Michigan Bar Journal has been publishing articles on plain legal language for more than 20 years. It is the longest-running column on legal writing. The site includes a list of columns and links to many of the more recent ones.

  • Over the years, The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing has published many influential and widely circulated articles on plain language.


State and local governments

Around the world

Governments and private organizations around the world support plain language. Many of these programs have been in place for much longer than our effort here in the United States.

  • Plain Language Association International includes professionals who plan, write, design, and create communications projects to better serve the needs of the public, clients, customers, students, and staff. Their site provides free plain language articles, writing tutorials, Web links, news, networking opportunities, professional support, and an e-mail discussion group.

  • Clarity is a worldwide group of lawyers and interested lay people. Its aim is the use of good, clear language by the legal profession.

  • Sweden has one of the oldest programs. It’s managed by the Ministry of Justice. Even bills headed to the legislature go through plain language editing. In fall 2004, a representative of the Ministry of Justice spoke at the kickoff of Mexico’s new plain language program: Plain language in Sweden, the results after 30 years.

  • The United Kingdom has government and private sector support for plain language:

    • Plain English is mandatory for all of the writing on GOV.UK.

    • The Plain Language Commission accredits public documents and websites with the Clear English Standard logo and provides training in plain language.

    • The Plain English Campaign is an independent pressure group fighting for public information to be written in plain English

  • In Australia, plain language has become a commercial success. Demand for clear language has increased, and law firms that provide plain language legal products are finding success. Two leading sources of plain language legal expertise are Cleardocs and

  • The European Commission has created a guide for writing clearly in several languages.

  • Portugal’s government has announced a new program, SIMPLEGIS, with the goal of simplifying its legal system and make it clearer, allowing people and businesses have more certainty, security, and clarity in the rules that apply to them.