and switching on paragraph numbers


Legal writing (like judgments) has numbered paragraphs, for detailed pin-pointing of information, and the occasional (unnumbered) heading. Headings help a bit, especially in long judgments, but since they are an interpretation of the structure of the reasoning and not the interpretation of the structure, headings take on an ancillary role only, as an aid to navigation.

There are numerous ways to achieve numbered paragraphing: making the document one giant enumerated list, with each paragraph being an item in the list, is one way (simplistic, but workable).

Another way is to count the paragraphs.

Latex by default has numbered headings and unnumbered paragraphs. To re-style it into legal mode, a paragraph counter can be created, say something like \p, to keep it short to save typing:


%Numbered paragraphs
\newcounter{parno}[paragraph]%% numbered paragraph
\newcommand{\p}{\stepcounter{parno}\noindent[\theparno]\ } 

This switches off paragraph first-line indenting, puts square brackets around the number, and adds a space after it.

To stop numbers like appearing (paragraph numbers are the fourth level down), the paragraph number can be de-linked from the level numbering coming in from one level above:


%delink paragraph counter from being reset by subsubsection


And headings (meaning sections, in the case of an article document-class) can have their numbering switched off by setting to nothing (being {}):


%remove (printing of) section numbering




Got vertical text working: for Japanese (using the lualatex-ja package, compiled under lualatex, rather than xelatex), going right-to-left. And ruby-text (furigana):jvert


Vertical also works for Chinese characters, of course.









And Mongolian or Manchu, under the mls package (which gives MonTeX), besides Cyrillic and Roman scripts, can do vertical too, left-to-right:





Shades of meaning

Painters have an exercise to stretch their skills: painting an egg on a piece of paper. Uses up a lot of titanium white. The legal equivalent , in comparative law/translation, would be trying to render the phrase ‘common law’, and its near-equivalent and simultaneous not-equivalent “droit commun”, from French into English.

Here is Carbasse (via a quote typeset in Latex, to capture the visuality of the original printing):



In French, the phrase “common law” has a shade of meaning and a perspective (and field of denotation) that it does not have in English, and “droit commun”, as a (knowing) near-miss gloss, does not exactly mean ‘common law’ (in connotation) like a literal translation of ‘droit commun’ would sound like it would give. The Paris perspective of London.

Almost the linguistic equivalent of an Escher knot.




(Image from GoogleBooks)


And he [the Chief Justice] said, upon the observation upon 4 Mod. see the inconveniencies of these scambling reports, they will make us appear to posterity for a parcel of blockheads.

Once there was a law report of a case (Hodge v Clare), which seemed to be saying that pleading that a party was, in modern terms, ‘absent’, did not necessarily mean ‘absent outside of the jurisdiction’, like all other cases had confirmed up until that time.  But the law report itself was found at fault, because:

upon search of the roll in that case [the official parchment roll recording the case], there is a full averment, that the person, during whose absence, was in partibus transmarinis [in parts overseas], and no ground for the objection.

Hence Holt CJ’s observation about ‘these scambling reports’. – Slater v May, 2 Lord Raymond 1071.

Would we perhaps call it a ‘fake report’, nowadays?



With the colored letttrine Latex package, and a suitable font like EB Garamond, which has empty decorative initials (acting like a background) and separate foreground letters, interesting effects can be achieved:


Similar effects could be achieved with CSS in HTML, but printing commands can do optical effects like lensing, and it will probably be a while before such things are coded up as standard-issue into browsers.



Vita is indeed brevis, and art longa.