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Aforesaid

In the modern world of employment litigation there is no situation where it is appropriate to use the word “aforesaid”.

This is one of those rare rules to which there are no exceptions.

One comment

  1. Francis Davey

    Absolutely and completely true. The reason for the use of “aforesaid” in pleadings (and worse witness statements) arises because of the need to avoid the use of nouns preceded by the definite article in place of names.

    For example, were I to mention a dog in my pleadings and later on refer to “the dog”, the reader cannot be quite sure that “the dog” is the dog I have already mentioned or some other dog that has turned up in the story at that point but that I have failed to properly introduce.

    If you do not believe that such usage causes confusion, I would suggest a perusal of a fair sample of witness statements (it matters not whether they were settled by a lawyer or not). You are likely to come across at least one or perhaps several examples of this usage. “the Manager then said….” for example.

    The easy, traditional and unoriginal way to avoid this pitfall is to use “aforesaid” as a way of labelling something as being familiar and already met. You now know that “the aforesaid dog” is indeed the dog you met at the beginning of the story.

    As Michael so rightly says, this is simply appalling usage. In the first place most entities have a name (for just this purpose). Introduce the dog as “Rover” and we will know that Rover is the aforesaid dog unless another Rover enters the story of course, in which case more care is required.

    In the second place, there are harmless usages that can be used by those who lack imagination and dropped in to any pleading. When we first meet a dog (“the first dog”) we label it thus. Then when another dog (“the second dog”) enters the story we know it is different and we are able to differentiate between the two, although they might prefer to be called “Rover” and “Fido”.

    In should go without saying that in applying one’s label the phrase “hereinafter referred to as ‘the first dog'” is equally deplorable.

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