Why California bills are not used and/or

While legal language often includes the use of the term “and/or,” this term is not used in California statutes or in the drafting of California state bills. Although attorneys may use and/or in contracts, pleadings, and even some statutes in other states, the general view of the judiciary, as well as the Office of Legislative Counsel, is that the term and/or should not never be used in drafting. .

At best, this term is vague and others argue that it is meaningless. Therefore, the Office of Legislative Counsel does not use the term and/or. OLC also does not use “etc.” and several other words, including “dit” and “tel”. Instead, they use the words “the”, “a” or “an”.

Other legal commentators disagree with this approach. For example, “And/or, however, is not at all ambiguous. It has a defined and agreed meaning: when used correctly, the concept means “A or B or both”. In most areas of law, there is simply no compelling reason to avoid using and/or. The term is clear and concise.

However, in the drafting of California bills, the term “and/or” is always avoided.

It also raises the question of how the words “and” and “or” are used individually in California statutes. With drafters of bills in this state, the term “and” means both, but it can also mean either (similar to the meaning of the word “or”). Therefore, the word “and” in a statute can be both elements or one or the other.

On the other hand, the term “or” means only one or the other, but not both.

Finally, for multiple items (eg, those found in a series), the terms “any” or “all” will be used in California law to refer to an item or all items.

Bernard P. Love