n South African Law Journal - The overcomplicated interpretation of the word 'may' in sections 129 and 123 of the National Credit Act : notes

Volume 132, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



Plain language, avoidance of ambiguity, and correct grammar and punctuation are all crucial when it comes to drafting legislation properly. A good example of careless drafting that can create a completely different meaning is found in the following example taken from an old South African statute (as quoted in Andrew J Burger A Guide to Legislative Drafting in South Africa (2001) 24): 'No-one shall carry any dangerous weapon upon a public highway except for the purpose of killing a wild animal or a policeman in the execution of his duty.'

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