Does your household pay a TV licence? In the UK the firm will now address all communications to “Dear Sir or Madam”, while in the US all correspondence will start with “Dear Ladies and Gentlemen”. LONDON: One of the UK's leading law firms has taken a lead to drop the use of the traditional "Dear Sirs" from its legal documentation in favour of a more gender neutral term "Dear Sir or Madam". Please click here to read about how we process your data in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Get jobs by email. ‘We are getting statistics from the US that suggest 12% of the workforce is non-binary,’ she says. But the battle against gender-neutral language is surely a losing cause, reports Melanie Newman. If you believe in challenging the consensus, facilitating debate, and delivering news and analysis without the liberal filter, please consider making a donation. While Freshfields tells the Gazette the initiative was ‘very well received’, it was not without its critics, including those who saw it as paying lip service to equality at a time when less than 20% of the firm’s partners were female. ‘This is a throwback, presumably, to when people in business entering contracts were all males. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer would now use ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ in UK correspondence and ‘Dear Ladies and Gentlemen’ in the US, it said, with equivalents in other languages used in the firm’s international offices. Download The Economic Times News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News. So some firms are saying let’s not bother with titles at all – they get rid of them altogether. When Lady Butler-Sloss (pictured) was first made a lord justice of appeal, she was a lord justice until 1994. I wouldn’t use this term if I were not sure who I am speaking to. Irrespective of what happens in the case Reese says there is likely to be a move away from the language of ‘mother’ and ‘father’ in parental leave policies and other documents towards, for example, ‘person carrying the child’ and ‘person not carrying the child’. But the battle against gender-neutral language is surely a losing cause, reports Melanie Newman Arguing that ‘he’ and ‘she’ should be used interchangeably rather than replaced, he added: ‘Statutes and statutory instruments ought not only to be clear and free of ambiguity, but surely ought also to stand as models for the correct use of the English language… to prostitute the English language in pursuit of some goal of gender equality is, I suggest, unacceptable.’. It’s a quaint little habit which has stood the test of time, until now, when it finally encountered that which it could not withstand: critical gender theory. Client requests for gender-neutral documents sometimes turn out on further enquiry to mean ‘gender-specific’, she adds. Send us news, tips and blogs: [email protected]. Does the WHO now endorse Trump’s lock-down policies? Elsewhere things are starting to change, though the pace is slow. The Solicitors Regulation Authority has come under fire for not specifically asking practitioners to specify their sex in a survey of the profession’s diversity. ‘What we’re finding is that a lot of systems are not very customisable. We represent and support our members, promoting the highest professional standards and the rule of law. Meanwhile debates currently raging online about when and whether a person’s biological sex, rather than their gender, should be considered relevant are already spilling into the legal profession. Managing Partner, Senior Associate etc; Dear Counsel” The use of “Dear Sirs”, of course, dates to the time when law firms were usually named after … If you don’t want to offend anyone, make sure you know the … On Friday, the Law Society of Ireland wrote to its members to announce a new policy of formally discouraging lawyers to begin letters using gendered language. Gript depends on the support of its readers. Aontú welcomes medics' letter opposing abortion law…, Oh dear: The journal.ie fails its own fact-check…, Oh dear: Eamon Ryan says “N*gger” in Dail, for some reason, Trump: I’m going to start mining operations on the Moon, Japan says that WHO should start calling itself the…, There will be mandatory pension contributions of 8%…. She prefers her firm to be addressed as: ‘Dear Cartridges Law’, ‘Dear Solicitors’ or ‘Dear Lawyers’. That undoubtedly remains the view in the dustier parts of the legal profession. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer said it has stopped using the phrase from this weekend. ‘The problem is there is no rulebook on this.’. She goes so far as to say lawyers should reject documents presented to them for signature if the traditional masculinised approach has been used. It brings you quick, access to the library catalogue and value added legal information sources. Not to mention the fact Freshfields staff are not all signed up to the new ways, if documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in the last two years are anything to go by (17 December 2017 and 9 March 2018). In the United States, variations of this greeting include “Dear Sirs”. NEC3 ECC contains the wording: 13.4 The Project Manager replies to a communication submitted or resubmitted to him by the Contractor for acceptance. The Coordination Committee which I chair has agreed, having researched the matter, that the Law Society will lead the way in discontinuing the use of this outdated greeting. It would be very unkind,’ says Reese. ‘A person who practises without a permit commits an offence’, rather than ‘A person commits an offence if he practises without a permit’. In 2017 HSBC announced it was offering customers a choice of nine titles, including ‘M’, ‘Misc’, an abbreviation of miscellaneous, and ‘Mre’, which stands for ‘mystery’. The contrary argument is that discrimination on the basis of biology occurs regardless of gender identity and that obscuring data on sex would do a disservice to a larger number of female staff. They only let you put one field in. Words such as ‘chairman’ were too often used for offices open to either sex and should be outlawed, he added. For example, Clause 11.2 of the NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract reads: (2) Completion is when the Contractor has, • done all the work which the Works Information states he is to do by the Completion Date…. I say “OK, but if 4% of the UK population is trans you may not hit the marker correctly and upset someone”.’. ‘LGBT+ people, myself included, can find this pretty uncomfortable,’ she explains. Our Privacy Policy has changed. News focus: The defenders of judicial review, News focus: Pay rises and job cuts - the City’s strange case of double vision, The ins and outs of local authority lockdowns, Technology: how to get the most out of what you’ve got, Prince Charles tells GCs: you must act on climate change, GCs unveil tactics to make external firms diverse, Lawyer in the news: Carolynn Gallwey, Bhatt Murphy, My legal life: Bahareh Amani, Hodge Jones & Allen, Lawyer in the news: Pádraig Ó Muirigh, Ó Muirigh Solicitors, Acting on behalf of individuals appealing a benefits decision, Lawyers helping social entrepreneurs change the world, Find out more about the benefits of membership. I’ve lost count at this stage of the number of female solicitors who would burst into tears when they opened a letter that began “dear sirs””. However, this greeting is not gender-neutral and was mostly used when men dominated management positions. Straw’s plans were not well received by then MP for Maidstone and the Weald, Ann Widdecombe, who retorted: ‘A chair is a piece of furniture… all he is doing is distorting the English language, and I would have thought he had better things to do.’. ‘The very occasional letter is addressed “Mesdames” which is quaint and nicely European in these difficult times, but hardly suitable for the 21st century,’ she says. ‘It’s very complicated. Let's reshape it today, Hunt for the brightest engineers in India. So, if Addison, McConkey, and Wells were writing to their colleagues at Bloodstone, Norcross, and Wise, they would begin their letter with “Dear Sirs”. In a House of Lords debate that year he cited examples of ‘appalling drafting’ such as ‘the claimant or their partner is a person’, and ‘an adult who is not the claimant’s partner if they are part of the claimant’s Extended Benefit Unit’.

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