Legislative language exhibits some characteristics typical of languages of administration that are particularly prone to eliciting ambiguities.
However, ambiguity is generally undesirable in legislative texts and can pose problems for the interpretation and application of codified law. In this paper, we demonstrate how methods of controlled natural languages can be applied to prevent ambiguities in legislative texts.
We investigate what types of ambiguities are frequent in legislative language and therefore important to control, and we examine which ambiguities are already controlled by existing drafting guidelines. For those not covered by the guidelines, we propose additional control mechanisms.
Wherever possible, the devised mechanisms reflect existing conventions and frequency distributions and exploit domain-specific means to make ambiguities explicit.