FAQ n.18999

Where can I find guidance on the use of ‘shall’, ‘must’, ‘should’ and ‘may’ in the Agency’s rulemaking publications and generally in EU legislation?


This question relates to the English writing standards used in Community legislation. Points 10.23 to 10.32 of the English Style Guide, prepared by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation, provide guidance concerning the use of modal verbs in legislation, contracts and the like, as well as an explanation of the distinction between modal verbs used in enacting and non-enacting terms.

Further, points 2.3, 10 and 12 of the Joint Practical Guide of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission for persons involved in the drafting of European Union legislation also provide guidelines on the principles of drafting Community legislation.

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