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[5 Feb 2014] Martin Cutts writes: Professor Robert Eagleson, an outstanding figure in the plain-language field, died in Australia on 28 October.
While at the University of Sydney’s Department of English, Robert worked closely with the Victoria Law Reform Commission in its pioneering efforts to rewrite laws in plainer English in the 1980s. Unusually, he was a commissioner there without being a lawyer. Robert (pictured here with his wife Muriel in 1992) was a learned and amusing speaker at several plain-language conferences.
Robert contributed extensively to Australia’s first plain English legal document (a car insurance policy) in 1976. From 1993–97 he was a member of the taskforce directing the rewriting of the Australian Corporations Law in plain English. From 1983–87 he was special adviser on plain language to the Australian Government. He acted as consultant on plain legal language to the law firm Mallesons Stephen Jacques from 1987–2000.
He was appointed founding co-director of the Law Foundation Centre for Plain Legal Language. Robert was also a consultant to the Law Reform Commissions in Canada and New Zealand and conducted workshops in Canada, France, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, the UK and the USA.
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