Use the passive voice sparingly
- Change > to
- An extension may be requested by any party. > Any party may request an extension.
- This project was rejected at Commission level. > The Commission rejected the project.
- A meeting was held in Paris between A and B. > A and B met in Paris.
Inanimate subjects with animate verbs are fine.
- In Article 20 it is stated … > Article 20 states …
- Institutional reform is advocated in the report. > The report advocates institutional reform.
The passive is appropriate in these sentences:
- > The team’s findings are detailed on page 8.
- > These provisions may be amended by a decision of the Minister for Finance.
Consider replacing negatives with positives
- Change > to
- It is not uncommon for requests to be rejected. > It is common for requests to be rejected.
- It is not excluded / not impossible that we will fail. > It is (entirely) possible that we will fail. / We may (well) fail.
- The penalty shall be not less than EUR 10 000. > The penalty shall be at least EUR 10 000.
- Failure to observe the rules is subject to a penalty. > Breach of the rules is subject to a penalty.
- The realisation of road work by workers who are not certified is prohibited. > Road work may be performed only by certified road workers.
- The Comission never acts without consulting stakeholders. > The Commission always consults stakeholders before acting.
Consider short forms and pronouns to avoid repeating full names …
- Change > to
- The Startup Financing Scheme grants loans to new businesses. In this way, the Startup Financing Scheme stimulates competition. > The Scheme grants loans to new businesses. In this way, it stimulates competition.
- The Special Investigations Department of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Welfare has investigated the allegations. > We have investigated the allegations.
… and instead of foreign or ad hoc abbreviations.
- the National Institute for Quality and Organisational Development of Health Care and Medicines (GYEMSZI) … GYEMSZI … > the National Institute for Quality and Organisational Development of Health Care and Medicines … the Institute / it …
- the Financial Control Methodology and Internal Audit Department (FCMIAD) of the Ministry of Finance (MF) of the Slovak Republic (SR) … the FCMIAD MF SR … > the Financial Control Methodology and Internal Audit Department of the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic … the Department / it …
Express conditions, including hidden ones, with ‘if’ …
- Change > to
- in the event / case of a successful application > if your application is accepted
- when / where a beneficiary fails to comply > if a beneficiary fails to comply
- provided that the application is received in time > if the application is received in time
- in the event of a sale or transfer of the holding > if the holding is sold or transferred
- should you need more information > if you need more information
- A manufacturer who does not have a place of business in a Member State shall designate an authorised representative. > A manufacturer shall designate an authorised representative if it does not have a place of business in a Member State.
- A proposal which does not comply with applicable legislation may be excluded. > A proposal may be excluded if it does not comply with applicable legislation.
… entitlement with ‘may’…
- Each owner shall be entitled to grant a licence to a third party to exploit the jointly owned results. > Each owner may grant a licence to a third party to exploit the jointly owned results.
- A beneficiary is allowed to use a simplified method for calculating eligible costs. > A beneficiary may use a simplified method for calculating eligible costs.
- The negotiating body shall have the right to meet without the central management. > The negotiating body may meet without the central management.
… and exceptions with ‘unless’ or ‘however’ (or ‘subject to’).
- except where expressly authorised in this Annex > unless expressly authorised in this Annex
- without prejudice to Article 2 (1) > subject to / unless otherwise provided for in / without prejudice to Article 2
- Without prejudice to the aforementioned provisions, a licence is not required for … > (However,) A licence is not required for …
(1) ‘Without prejudice to …’ does exist in legal English, including EU law, but is used less than in other languages. Consider alternatives if uncertain.
In general, cut out extra verbiage.
- Change > to
- dockworkers who have obtained the relevant authorisation to practise the profession of dockworker > authorised dockworkers
- ensure the suitability of the equipment used for the performance of work and its safety for use > ensure that equipment is suitable and safe
- The cartel’s purpose was to maintain prices at their prevailing, elevated level. > The cartel aimed to keep prices high.
- Further to the letter by which the Commission asked our authorities to provide clarification of this matter, we would like to provide the following opinion. > Please find enclosed our response to your request for more information on this matter.
- It is not necessary that the Commission provide evidence of implementation of the agreement between the participants to fix prices, but only that it prove the existence of such an agreement. > The Commission must show that the participants agreed to fix prices, not that they actually did so.
- Part of the responsibility of the responsible team leader is also the confirmation that the totality of the workers who compose the team are wearing a work uniform which ensures their safety at work. > The team leader must ensure that each worker on the team is wearing a safety uniform.
- The notice seeks to increase understanding of the Commission’s investigation process and thereby enhance the efficiency of investigations and ensure a high degree of transparency and predictability in the process. > The notice explains the Commission’s investigation process to ensure that it is efficient, transparent and predictable.
- The compositions of the teams for the performance of every type of construction work may not deviate from those provided for in the legislation on the branch of construction workers. > Construction teams must be composed as provided for in relevant legislation.
- ‘Cargo work’ means loading any good or item for transport or movement from the point of storage onto any means of transport or unloading from the means of transport to the point of storage. > ‘Cargo work’ means moving cargo from a place where it is stored onto a means of transport or vice versa.
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