Document Type


Publication Title

Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute

Publication Date



Except for the United States, the English-speaking world has been moving toward writing statutes as stories with characters and plot tensions. British statutes are the most advanced in this respect.

To illustrate the British method, the key statutes in the Mar-a-Lago Indictment are redrafted in this article to resemble the form they would take if recently enacted by Parliament. l compare the statutes and the redrafts side-by-side. And I do the same thing with two sections of the Electoral Count Act, which governs what Congress does on every January 6 following a presidential election year.

The article explains how the British drafting process differs from Congress’s as well as why and how the British have gradually been abandoning statute-writing customs that still prevail in the United States. The article also explains how a writer can tell a story in a statute: sequencing events, blocking to set up a scene, and managing action and dialog.

Included in

Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.