Binding laws are those that require a certain course of action instead of allowing it. Their language is characterized by directive terms such as „should” as opposed to „may.” A mandatory provision is a provision that must be complied with, while a directory provision is optional. An example of a mandatory provision is a law that requires an election judge to confirm his or her initials on a ballot. Until recently, law schools taught lawyers that „should” means „must.” That`s why many lawyers and executives think „should” means „must.” It`s not their fault. The Federal Simple Writing Act and the Federal Plain Language Guidelines were not published until 2010. And the fact is that while „shall” is the only clear and valid way to express „mandatory,” most parts of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that govern federal departments still use the word „should” for this purpose. Over time, laws evolve to reflect new knowledge and standards. As long as this transition remains, the safe and informed choice „must” remains, not only because it clarifies the concept of obligation, but also because it does not contradict any case of „should” in the CFR. Currently, federal departments review their documents to replace all „homework” with „musts.” It`s a big effort. If you look at page A-2, section q of this order, it shows an example of how a typical federal order describes this passage from „should” to „shall.” Don`t go through this tedious process. If you think mandatory, write „must”. If you think it is forbidden, write „cannot”. These are some of the reasons why these documents require us to use the word „shall” when we mean „mandatory”: „We call „shall” and „cannot” words of obligation.” Must” is the only word that imposes a legal obligation on your readers to tell them that something is mandatory.
Also, „can`t” are the only words you can use to say something is forbidden. Who says that and why? Almost all jurisdictions concluded that the word „should” is confusing because it can also mean „may, will or must”. Legal reference works such as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure no longer use the word „should.” Even the Supreme Court has ruled that if the word „should” appears in legislation, it means „may.” Dr. Bruce V. CorsinoFAA Program Manager in Plain LanguagePhone: 202-493-4074E-Mail: email@example.com If you have any comments or questions about it, please contact: What should you say if someone tells you, „Should be a perfectly good word”? Always agree with them because they are right! But in your next breath, be sure to say, „Yes, it`s supposed to be a perfectly good word, but it`s not a perfectly good word of commitment.” Bryan Garner, a lawyer and editor of Black`s Law Dictionary, wrote: „In most legal instruments, the presumption of consistency violates.. That`s why shall is one of the most controversial words in the English language. peremptory; mandatory; mandatory; what needs to be subscribed or tracked. .