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Plain language

Our standard and checklist, shared as a resource for all agencies with drafting responsibilities.

The PCO applies a plain language standard when drafting legislation and in other office communications.

We also use a checklist that expands on each of the elements of the standard and are developing documents to support the standard and checklist.

Our goals are to:

  • make New Zealand’s legislation more accessible to all (especially online)

  • improve the legal effectiveness of that legislation

  • make plain language the standard for how the whole office communicates.

We encourage agencies to apply the plain language standard when drafting secondary legislation. See also How to Draft, which provides additional guidance for agency drafters that ties in with our plain language standard.

View the Plain Language Standard

View the Checklist

View the supporting documents

A win at the 2017 Plain English Awards

On 23 November 2017 the PCO won the Best Plain English Legal Document at the Plain English Awards for the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017.

Read more about the award »

Last updated: 21 June 2024

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