Learning Legalese

A few months back I had the pleasure of attending an industry forum held by a local regulatory body. Nothing extreme there, other than the language that was used during the keynotes.

Within one speech I was confronted by a term that I was not at all familiar with. Within context, the speaker was mentioning some upcoming rule changes and the process where they had to be approved by the Government prior to being introduced. And what do you ask was this process called?

Positive Non-Disallowance

Let’s break it down.

Disallowance defined as ‘refusal to allow’.

Non-Disallowance opposite of ‘refusal to allow’. i.e. allowed.

Positive Non-Disallowance err. Allowed? The affirmative opposite of refusal to allow.

From what I understand, this kind of wording would therefore absolve the approver (“The Government”) from actually saying “Yes, we explicitly agree” to instead state that they “Don’t not allow” the rules or otherwise cannot find any reason why the rules can’t be introduced. Approval without explicitly approving. Get it?

Lawyers really do seem to get paid by the word.