Le chat amongst les pigeons: speaking plain English

Le chat amongst les pigeons: speaking plain English

Paul Caddy is a practicing solicitor at Lexis®PSL Commercial with over fifteen years of legal experience advising on and writing about various aspects of commercial, corporate and venture capital law.

Paul, who speaks fluent French, recently acted for a technology start up company in the Alps as a commercial consultant where he was also able to indulge his passion for skiing and French-style queue-jumping. When he’s not in the Alps, he’ll be in the Lake District up a hill, getting rained on. A lot.

Paul is a frequent contributor to Comet – the LexisNexis Commercial, Enterprise and Technology blog, from which this article is taken.

Le chat amongst les pigeons: plain English in meetings

Well that put the cat among the pigeons,’ a lawyer colleague of mine once opined whilst on a conference call to French clients.

‘Quoi?’ screamed the awkward and protracted silence down the ‘phone.

‘Chats?’

‘Pigeons?’

‘Un chat parmi les pigeons?

By this point, the conversation had moved on and, sadly, the French clients had missed the point entirely on liquidated damages: the fact that damages must be a genuine pre-estimate of the loss; and that penalties are not permitted in English law.

They were still trying to work out why the charming English lawyer suddenly interjected with a discussion about his cat unexpectedly being inserted into a flock of pigeons.

Now, I speak French. My Gallic shrug is among the best. It took years of hard and determined practice.

However, I know from bitter ex

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