SC Lawyer, March 2004, #7. The Scrivener March 2004 Capitalizaton.

AuthorBy Scott Mo\xEFse

South Carolina Lawyer


SC Lawyer, March 2004, #7.

The Scrivener March 2004 Capitalizaton

South Carolina LawyerMarch 2004The Scrivener March 2004 CapitalizatonBy Scott MoïseCapital letters show importance, notice, and emphasis in legal writing. Statutes or judicial decisions sometimes mandate capitalization of terms in legal documents in certain contexts so that the words will be noticed. See, e.g., S.C. Code Ann. § 15-48-10 (Law. Co-op. Supp. 2002) (requiring notice of arbitration provision to be typed in underlined capital letters on the face of agreements); Myrtle Beach Pipeline Corp. v. Emerson Elec. Co., 843 F. Supp. 1027, 1039-40 (D.S.C. 1993) (holding that contract effectively disclaimed warranties because, among other things, the disclaimer was conspicuous since it was in bold, capital letters). Typically, however, capitalization is used to show the importance of-or to emphasize-a particular person, place, or thing. The Bluebook, particularly Rule 8 (for general use) and Practitioners' Notes Rule P.6 (for use in court documents and legal memoranda), specifically addresses when to capitalize in legal writing. Basic rules of grammar fill in the blanks left by the Bluebook.

  1. Common Rules of Capitalization

    1. Proper Nouns

      Capitalize the names of particular people (including officials, groups, governmental offices, or governmental bodies) places, or things. Do not capitalize unless you are referring to a particular person, place, or thing.

      * The South Carolina Legislature is in session. (BUT: Certain legislative acts have come under increased criticism during this election year.)

      * We hired Dr. Thomas F. Moran as our expert on health care. (BUT: He was our family doctor when we lived in Rock Hill.)

      * Tom took us to see the Lincoln Memorial when we visited him last summer. (BUT: William was disappointed that he could not get close to the memorial.)

      * The Beachfront Management Act had a profound effect on coastal development. The Act gave hope to landowners, but it gave headaches to environmentalists. (BUT: Representative Smith intends to convince his fellow legislators to support an environmental act that protects coastal waters.)

      * The President spoke to union members about employment. (BUT: Under our form of government, the president is elected by the electoral college. He was hoping for a presidential pardon.)

      Do not...

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