Our Team


Christopher Balmford

BA/LLB ( Hons) Monash University

Admitted, Victoria 

Internationally recognised expert in making legal and related documents clear, accurate, and easy to use

Christopher founded Words and Beyond in 1999.

Christopher is the Convenor of the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) Working Group, which is developing a standard for plain language. He chaired the International Plain Language Federation’s Standards Committee when the Federation initiated a Standards Australia proposal to ISO for a plain language standard. And in June 2019, in Ottawa, Canada, at the annual forum of the relevant ISO committee, Christopher presented the case for the standard on behalf of Standards Australia. ISO approved the proposal in 2019.


  • wrote the plain language components for the online Graduate Diploma of Legal Professional Practice at the University of New South Wales;
  • was on the advisory group for IC Clear, an EU funded project to develop an international postgraduate course in clear communication. A course built on the EU’s project is now available online at Simon Fraser University in Canada; and
  • is a former president of Clarity — a worldwide network of professionals who are committed to promoting plain legal language.

Christopher is the founder, and former Managing Director, of Cleardocs, which provides online legal document packages — for example, to set up companies and trusts. In 2011, ThomsonReuters acquired Cleardocs.

Recent document rewriting highlights


  • The Institute of Actuaries of Australia actuarial standards etc;
  • Australian Banking Association Code of Banking Practice
  • Insurance Council of Australia’s first draft of a General Insurance Code of Practice. 


  • HammondCare aged care facility agreements;
  • ANZ Bank Limited Annual Report 2017 ― major review and new approach.


  • Fair Work Commission plain-language industrial relations awards.

Training and cultural change programs

Christopher has delivered plain-language training courses for law firms, financial services organisations, government regulatory bodies, graphic design studios, law students, in universities.

All up, he delivered more than 500 courses between 1996 and 2006.  Since then, his colleagues deliver the courses. 

The training highlights are his work in Southern Africa, and the long-term cultural-change projects:

  • he contributed to for the National Australia Bank in 2005; 
  • he ran at his previous employer, the law firm Phillips Fox; and 
  • he ran for his client AMP Limited, to whom he was seconded for 2.5 years from 1996 to 1998.


Christopher is a prominent advocate for plain language everywhere.

He has delivered papers at conferences, or conducted training, in: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, the UK, Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Norway, The Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Namibia, and South Africa.

You can view Christopher, as Clarity’s president, speaking at the close of Clarity’s 2010 conference in Lisboa, Portugal.

A testimonial for Christopher

“I am forever grateful to Christopher Balmford for a closing speech he gave at the PLAIN conference in Toronto in 2002 . . . . The challenge Christopher gave us was to move forward and feel empowered by our professionalism.  It felt to me like a watershed moment. It changed my stance toward my clients and potential clients and made me a more persuasive advocate.  Christopher galvanized the room, and many of us went away with the energy needed to do the work we've been doing for 10 years since then.  Thank you, Christopher!”

Sally McBeth, Co-chair of PLAIN’s 2002 conference, in an email to PLAIN’s online forum February 2011 

Bob Milstein

BA/LLB University of Melbourne

Admitted, Victoria and New York Bar

Health lawyer and plain language trainer and document writer

Bob is a health lawyer and plain language trainer and document writer. Bob graduated from law school in 1982 and spent several years working in the USA, where he was admitted to the New York Bar.

In 1984, Bob returned to Australia to start a legal practice with a focus on medical negligence and health law.

Bob’s health law experience ― in particular, in professional medical negligence litigation ― made him increasingly aware that a lack of clear communication often lies at the heart of legal disputes. This awareness triggered his original interest in plain legal communication.

Bob has presented Words and Beyond’s plain language course – and variations of it – more than 400 times. His plain language training clients include law firms, regulatory bodies, government departments, doctors, scientists, researchers, semi-government agencies, and companies.

In addition to delivering the plain language course, he has also provided training on a range of discrete writing topics including:

  •  advice-writing;
  •  email etiquette;
  •  “frequent flier” issues in grammar, spelling, punctuation and proofreading;
  • enforceable undertakings and legislative instruments
  • plain language writing of the Participant Information and Consent Form and related materials (medical, scientific and social research)
  • jointly with a retired judge, decision-writing and reasons-writing

Document rewriting

Bob has rewritten many documents for a range of government, regulatory and commercial clients, including:

  • contracts and associated correspondence for a government organisation;
  • cost disclosure materials for a major national law firm;
  • policies and procedures for a federal legal body;
  • contracts for a statutory organisation;
  • funding letters for a major legal aid body; and
  •  intranet text for a Commonwealth body.

Testimonials for Bob’s training – both in person and online

"Words and Beyond put language into a new context. Bob Milstein engages his audience with the “tools”, anecdotes and practical examples relevant to the workplace. As a participant, you learn the art of good communication."

 "Thought this was brilliant. I had heard quite a bit about his training and it had been hyped up by everyone I’d spoken to – it was definitely worth the hype. Who would have thought plain English training would have been so enjoyable and entertaining. I’m sure my writing will improve thanks to Bob."

"The training worked really well in the digital format and was still engaging despite the fact we weren’t together in the same room."

"No matter what level of experience or knowledge you think you have when it comes to writing, Bob can help you to make it even better."

"Great communicator, very patient and very knowledgeable on subject matter."

"Excellent presenter. One of the most engaging presenters that we’ve had."

"Excellent. This should be compulsory for lawyers and non-lawyers. Bob was a brilliant facilitator. He kept everyone’s interest, used real-life examples and gave everyone great reference material to take away."

"Having Bob facilitate the day was fantastic. I was in awe of his knowledge and commitment to this movement. He is a remarkable guy and amazingly engaging facilitator. I found myself smiling stupidly all day at his unique delivery and humorous anecdotes."

"One of the best presenters/presentations I’ve ever seen. Fantastic session on what could have been a dry topic."

"The BEST session in the grad academy so far. Bob is a highly engaging presenter and made the subject matter entertaining, insightful and relevant. Best writing session I’ve ever attended."

And our favourite testimonial: "Bob shoud host the Oscars."