There is a saying in Taiwan that “law protects only those who understand it”, which is however, somewhat ironically, a reality.
Most people are taught to obey law, whether they know what law means to them or not. They often misunderstand, or even refuse to understand, legal texts, and therefore, their lives are subject to uncertainty and difficulty notwithstanding the rights guarantees provided by law.
The Plain Law Movementwas thus founded on this contextual basis, organised by a group of legal professionals of diverse fields and experiences, who hope to create a new media public and engage Taiwanese people in learning, interpreting, discussing, and monitoring law and legal development.
We, singly and collectively, try to communicate our ideas regarding the rule of law via different channels, and we all believe that it is possible to transform the formalistic and outdated legal culture, through a social movement from below, into simple linguistic practices.
To make law “plain” – and societally comprehensive – does not reduce any of its sophistication and significance but promotes its legitimacy, acceptance, and respectability in terms of public attention and democratic deliberation.
Hence, the Plain Law Movement– as a forum dedicated to bridging the gap between lawyers, policy-makers and the public – aims not to “teach” people how to think legally but to help make their voices louder and their lives easier with legal knowledge.
We also believe, only when one can feel taken seriously and considered as a worthwhile member of the society, she/he would be capable of seeing and recognising other members’ struggles and accordingly take actions.
After all, to subvert the saying as mentioned earlier, we encourage people not only to understand law but also to eventually create a legal culture that accounts for every member’s needs and attends to social injustice phenomena.
In the age of information explosion, the channels and means of advocacy increase too discretely and change too rapidly for everyone to really voice out, and thus, many quality and “punchy” narratives are unheard or even excluded.
Against this background, the primary goal of the Plain Law Movement is to create a community of lawyers aimed at taking everyone’s story and idea seriously and creatively. We believe that doing so can transform, directly and indirectly, the existing media environment, in which the quality legal writings and critical authors are largely ignored. With such an bottom-up approach, our team hopes to introduce the greater public to the legal knowledge from a different perspective.
Eventually, we hope to converge the hopefulness from people, through thinking, writing, reading and elaborating – altogether and in solitary – upon the legal culture in and for Taiwan.