Tone is the attitude writers take toward their works.
Style includes diction and tone. The main goal in considering style is to present your information in a manner appropriate for both the audience and the purpose of the entries.
Intended Audience and Tone
Some entries are written primarily for practicing lawyers (providing guidelines to simplify their research), others are designated for law students, providing the basic doctrines, while there a growing number of entries addressed to a more general audience. In the late case, the Encyclopedia explains common legal concepts and procedures, review doctrinal areas and provide references to major cases, statutes and other sources. Most of the readers are members of the legal community – a legal practitioner, an academic researcher or a student of law. But often the reader is a member of the general public.
Therefore, while the author can assume that the reader will be familiar with all basic legal terminology and legal conventions, it is not always the case.
The purpose of many contributors is provided a thorough exposition of the relevant law and to advance the readers’ understanding of a point of the law; not merely to demonstrate their own view. Therefore, entries and essays in the Encyclopedia of Law typically adopt an ‘objective’ tone and the implied author-reader relationship is one of equality (from a member of the legal community to other members of that community). For this reason, the tone is respectful, not didactic.
To demonstrate to the reader that the author has a thorough understanding of the relevant legal point, authors offer the relevant legal provisions, the facts and the points that show the analysis.
The authors need to establish all the necessary ‘foundations’ of the legal point, and to inform their readers how key laws, court decisions and concepts contribute to their analysis of the topic.
Many authors when they first begin writing in the Encyclopedia include too much descriptive material – the information that they have just researched – and too little analysis. A balance must coexist.