This blog shares some of our thoughts about plain language, and the latest discussions about plain English and clear design in New Zealand, and around the world.

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06 January 2011

Giving clear instructions to jurors

Being a juror can be a somewhat daunting experience. But clear instructions can make all the difference.

In Texas, proposed changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure include jury instructions rewritten in plain language. Lawyers, judges, and court officials know that jurors don't always understand the instructions they're given or what their responsibilities are as members of a jury. The new instructions, if approved, will remove legalese and clarify points that people find confusing.

Read more about the new juror instructions in Texas

And check out the recently revised information for New Zealand jurors on the Ministry of Justice website. (By the way, Write worked on part of the Ministry's Access to Justice project.)

Read the information for jurors in New Zealand

Please use the comment box to tell us about instructions you've read recently -- those that were great to use, and those that caused you trouble.


  1. Here’s a gem from the instructions that came with a Christmas present: “When you push down the right control lever, the nose incline to up, the helicopter is moving to backwards.”

  2. I've just read the revised New Zealand instructions for jurors, and boy, I wish they'd been available when I did jury service last year. They are so much clearer and more helpful!