Scottish lawmakers advised: Don't use unnecessary Gaelic words

A new guide instructs them to "use English as far as possible"

Scottish lawmakers advised: Don't use unnecessary Gaelic words

File photo | Image: Owen Humphreys / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Lawmakers in Scotland have been warned against using unnecessary Gaelic words when drafting legislation.

The Scottish Parliamentary Counsel Office has recommended English be used "as far as possible" in a 116-page manual.

The office oversees the drafting of bills for Scotland.

The guide states: "There is an increasing trend towards giving bodies a name in Gaelic as well as in English."

"If a body is to have two names, consider which is to be the commonly used one."

In relation to the use of English, the guide says: "Always use English as far as possible."

"Gaelic wording may be necessary in a special context (for example, specifying the body Bòrd na Gàidhlig)."

But it adds: "Use the English version of an adopted foreign word."

Lawyers have also been instructed to use gender neutral terms in legislation.

Lawmakers are asked to "avoid gender-specific pronouns such as 'he/she' except where essential for sense (for example, where the sheriff has misdirected 'himself or herself')".

Chief Parliamentary Counsel Andy Beattie, who wrote the guide, says it is inspired by the Gaelic proverb 'abair ach beagan is abair gu math e'. Translating as 'say but little and say it well'.