2004
Volume 40, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1573-9775
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1236

Abstract

Abstract

The traditional Dutch court summons does not help readers to understand the information it’s lawfully supposed to communicate. Especially lower literate and lower educated readers cannot deal with this document properly. In this study we compare reading success in four versions of a court summons. The content in all four is the same. The first, classic summons is normally being used throughout the legal professions involved in serving writs. In the second version the structure is manipulated by inserting headings and an altered order of both sentences and topics. In the third version only words and sentences have been manipulated, the structure however remained identical as in the classic summons. In the fourth version both manipulations are combined. The results indicate that when both style and structure are revised, readers with lower literacy and a lower educational level are no longer disadvantaged and show equal reading success. A reversed Matthew effect occurs in this revision. Therefore the authors suggest the new court summons should be revised on both structure and style.

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2018-12-01
2021-12-04
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