Now that’s concise
How to read, Part II

When “may” means “shall” “may only”

In Louisiana statutes, “[t]he word ‘shall’ is mandatory and the word ‘may’ is permissive.” La. R.S. 1:3. That is, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. In Colvin v. La. Patient’s Compensation Fund Oversight Board, 947 So.2d 15 (La. 2007), the Louisiana Supreme Court holds that the word may in a venue statute means may only, which comes awfully close to the mandatory shall.

The lesson: Context matters.