Unnecessary Lawyer Latin of the Day

by Mark Wilson

The first in a series of posts about unnecessary Lawyer Latin. It’s not the 13th century anymore; there’s no reason to uses phrases like “judgment non obstante verdicto” — which means nothing to 99% of the world — when other phrases like “judgment notwithstanding the verdict” would suffice (and make it easy to understand what’s going on). Unnecessary Latin is an impediment to understanding, either accidentally (through inertia) or intentionally (to make the lawyer’s language is a secret club which only the educated lawyer elite may join.

Vel non: a summary of alternatives. In English: “or not.” As in, “The merits, vel non, of this case.”

Why it’s unnecessary: You could have said “or not” or “lack thereof.” For example, if your roommate bursts into your room, without knocking, while you’re naked, you could say, “I appreciate your courtesy, vel non.”

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