Friday, November 23, 2018

Plain Language Forms Implemented by the Abu Dhabi Courts

Abu Dhabi Courthouses
We heard late last month from our friend, Mohamed Hesham Elrafei of the Abu Dhabi Courts about their new initiative with plan language forms and documents.  He writes and credits several contributors to the ideas they used in their new applications.  He writes:

"I just wanted to thank you for the very useful material on how to incorporate plain language into court forms which were kindly shared by James McMillan last year on my favorite blog “court technology bulletin“. (Ed note: thanks!)

This was very useful for us in Abu Dhabi Courts as it inspired us to establish a committee with the task to modernize and create new court forms written in plain language and in both Arabic and English for the first time in the Arab region. 

You inspired us to create a self-explanatory interactive court form (I call it a smart form ), we built it based on real cases where we gathered all the common articles and provisions from the laws and also the most common disputes from real disputes in order to help the public to easily choose from a list

Now when the person clicks on eviction, for example, the form will show him which article in the law can help him further and in the bottom of the page the full article of the law.

Also, we used plain language and used icons and illustrations.  Here is an example of the first form with more than 20 additional forms on the way in the future.

And as a final example of how much difference this approach has made, here is how the old court form appeared.  As you can see it was only in Arabic (most of the residents in our city are non-Arabic speakers ).  The old form gave no legal information and was a very bad design (basically a tasteless table )."

Congratulations Hesham for the excellent work.  We look forward to seeing other courts follow Abu Dhabi’s fine example.

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