Hello, this is my first post.
Recently I received a judicial ruling of one legal page long, and two main paragraphs, all in capital letters. The ruling have a scolding tone and imposed a sanction against my client. The merit of the ruling is not relevant at this stage. The thing I am most interested is in knowing if the use of all caps in a court ruling is cosidered rude or unprofessional. Is there any good source to quote in a response to this ruling?
I am not a lawyer nor do I work in the design/typography field. I am just a mere typography hobbyst. Based on what I´ve read, the issue with ALL CAPS is that you can´t distinguish the silhouettes of the text. While reading, our eye pays attention to the top of the letters (and IMHO a bit less to the bottom); and if the text is set in ALL CAPS, there´s no distinction between the letters, since all of what you see in the upper half of the text is a straight line. Of course that any text in ALL CAPS is legible, but it´s not readable, since it puts readers off, and that´s because we´re not used to read text set in ALL CAPS.
Having said this, I think that setting entire paragraphs in ALL CAPS is an unprofessional habit. Most of the people (professors, lawyers, etc) don´t have any clue about the rules of good typography. So if I were you, I´d spread this knowledge if the context calls for it. I can understand that ALL CAPS reminds us of a more authoritative tone, and that is something that certain particular people want to emphasize, since it´s linked to stone inscriptions, but it just doesn´t work in entire paragraphs.
P.S. I recall reading that in the early decades of the 20th century, there were typographers who cut lowercase alphabet fonts that only had the upper half part. If you look at them, you can read the text. This gives you an idea on how important the top silhouettes of the fonts are.
Without knowing the facts of your case, I would never tell the court that writing in all caps was rude or unprofessional - especially if they were sanctioning my client.