There’s a U.S. wiki called Readable Laws that attempts to make American legislation come closer to plain speech than it does when leaving Congress. Because it’s an open wiki, this is a collaborative effort among those interested enough to join — which will make legal specialists shudder, no doubt.
Let me give you something of the flavour of the work being done. Here’s a passage from the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007 (which seems sort of appropriate), a bill that has passed the House:
§2 (c) Limitations on Content of Information- The content of any testimony or document that is compelled under subsection (a) shall–
(1) not be overbroad, unreasonable, or oppressive and, as appropriate, be limited to the purpose of verifying published information or describing any surrounding circumstances relevant to the accuracy of such published information; and
(2) be narrowly tailored in subject matter and period of time covered so as to avoid compelling production of peripheral, nonessential, or speculative information.
And here’s the current “readable” version:
If a journalist is court-ordered to divulge source materials, he or she must only divulge details that answer the court’s question. They do not have to release entire documents that divulge other impertinent details.
This sort of sampling is unfair, of course, because you need to read the whole act to place an excerpt in context — which is one of the problems of “translating” a statute bit by bit, I should think.
Still, any effort to improve drafting is to be welcomed.