Legal text: what it is, main characteristics, structure and keys to drafting it


What is a legal text?

It comprises a series of texts that contain a legal character, reason why it is restricted to a use with legal effects. The main function of this type of texts is to communicate a normative that has the purpose that the addressee can know in a complete way his rights as well as his obligations or duties, which are assigned by the legal system.

What is a legal text

Since it is a text of a general nature, it is necessary that its composition has a clear and simple language so that it can be easily understood by any addressee. It is characterized mainly because it keeps a conservative sense, especially with the language used.

Main characteristics of legal texts

Let’s see the most important characteristics of this type of texts that allow us to distinguish them from other modalities within the non-literary texts. Among them we find the following:

Main purpose

Although the purposes may vary, in general, the function of the legal text is the preservation, use, clarification and formulation of the rules on which the relationships involving the members of a society are regulated. That is why we can find a great variety of formats with explicit explanations, as well as regulations of the laws, among other contents.

Related areas

This type of texts includes all those that are produced by people who are related to the sector of legal norms, such as officials in the position of lawyers, judges or legislators, among others. That is why this type of texts includes several formats such as wills, sentences, decrees, laws, constitutions of countries, among others.

Writing style

The writing style of this type of texts preserves a series of terms and words that have been used for a long time. That is why we have spoken of a conservative style that maintains rigid forms of expression from another era, which is why it is necessary to adapt them to the present time. However, aspects such as the imprint of the legal order are respected.

Specialized language

This type of text requires a precise vocabulary given the type of information it conveys, which is why it must use a language that not only corresponds to the area, but is also precise and clear, as well as leaving aside any kind of ambiguity. In this way, it is characterized by handling a very specialized language that includes a specific terminology following the field in which it concentrates.

An important feature regarding the use of language has to do with the presence of latinisms, that is, the presence of words that come from Latin and that are found precisely in a series of texts related to the field of law. This is due to the fact that Latin has played a fundamental role in history, particularly in the field of legal systems and in its course, within the civilization of the West.

Structure of a legal text

The structure followed by this type of text depends essentially on the function on which it is developed. However, most legal texts, such as judgments, laws, contracts and others, have a kind of standard form that may present minimal variations according to the formalisms used in different places.

Among the most frequent elements that we find when reviewing the structure of this type of texts, we find the following:


This part of the text may also be accompanied by a series of prescriptive policies, which indicate the treatment to be given to the addressee.


Although the length and format in which this information is presented may vary, many legal texts contain an introduction in which a series of parts or elements are identified, in addition to the central problem on which the content is developed.


This section contains, on the one hand, the identification of the person writing the request, that is to say, the presentation of the document, starting with an introductory formula. A gerund is usually used to indicate in detail the circumstances on which the request for the document is based. It is important that this statement is made in a clear and precise manner. Subsequently, the request is made explicitly.


In this section, in addition to premises, for example, the legal text may have operative provisions, guarantees, specific laws, clauses, signatures, dates, definitions and a number of other aspects included, especially in the case of contracts. It may also end with the instance, which includes a closing sentence, the signature of the requester, the place and date.

Keys to drafting a legal text

This type of document requires thorough planning, resources and a series of essential elements that must be taken into account when drafting it. For this reason, the following are the keys to writing a legal text that we must consider:

Organization of ideas

Before starting, it is recommended to think very carefully about the ideas to be dealt with in the text in relation to the topic and how they will be structured so that they are presented in an orderly manner to the reader.

As far as possible, the author should choose to organize in his mind the continuity of ideas in order to be able to explain them correctly, for which an outline of the main ideas through which the main topic is presented is recommended, identifying useful complementary arguments and leaving aside any idea that does not connect with the information and that generates confusion in the reader.

Taking care of the legal language

An important point is the use of legal language, given that although this type of text requires it, it is necessary to consider the way in which it is used in order to use it appropriately. It is recommended to use the concepts and all the terms that are part of the legal field in a conscious manner and not in an arbitrary way, since each of them has a fundamental implication that can generate confusion if not handled correctly.

In general, the use of legal terminology should be applied when necessary and with a correct explanation and contextualization of the framework in which it is used in order to simplify the reading for the reader.

Keep sentences short

One of the best ways to contribute to the easy understanding of the information presented, especially in this type of texts, has to do with the use of short sentences through which we can expose in a concise and clear way the information we need. In this sense, the author should reduce the ideas, if possible, deepening the precise information and ending with a point to continue with other complementary ideas in each of the sections.

Keys to drafting a legal text

Final review

Like any type of document, the legal text must be carefully reviewed. A first reading will allow us to identify possible shortcomings in the spelling and wording of the text, but a second review will also allow us to find flaws in the connection of ideas or elements that we could do without in order not to divert attention from the central axis.

It is necessary to verify that the final legal text is adequately connected with the previous idea that was considered at the beginning, as well as whether each element within the content of the text complements and is connected with the final exposition of the document.

In the world of letters it is possible to identify a great number of texts, many of them are present in our daily life. That is why in this section we tell you much more about the texts that are part of the literary world, in addition to the non-literary, such as legal texts. Here you will find much more information, keep browsing our section.