Language and the Law: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Language and the Law

1st Edition

By John Peter Gibbons


490 pages

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Explains and describes the ways that language use in the legal system can create inequality and disadvantage. It examines the three main areas where the two intersect: the central issue of the language of the law; the disadvantage which language can impose before the law, and forensic linguistics - the use of linguistic evidence in legal processes.

Each section of the book is preceded by an introduction by the editor which sets the paper within a conceptual framework. Lawyer's opinions are not neglected even though the collection is written mainly by linguists. The section concludes with a lawyer's response, in which a prominent lawyer with a particular interest in the content of the section responds to the papers.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Language constructing law

Introduction, John Gibbons

1. The language of the law, Yon Maley

2. Accident and absolute liability in anthropology, Laurence Goldman

3. Orality, literacy, and performativity in Anglo-Saxon wills, Brenda Danet and Bryna Bogoch

4. Cognitive structuring in legislative provisions, Vijay Bhatia

5. Ideological exchanges in British magistrate courts, Snadra Harris

6. Video depositions: linguistic endorsement and caveats, Bethyl A. Pearson and Rebecca White Berch

7. Lawyer's response to language constructing law, Margaret O'Toole

Part 2: Language and disadvantage before the law

Introduction, John Gibbons

8. Cross-examining children in criminal courts: child welfare under attack, Mark Brennan

9. Interactional styles in the courtroom: an example from northern Australia, Michael Walsh

10. A case of communicative clash: Aboriginal English and the legal system, Diana Eades

11. Addressing social issues through linguistic evidence, William Labov and Wendell A. Harris

12. Lawyer's response to language and disadvantage before the law, John Carroll

Part 3: Forensic linguistics

Introduction, John Gibbons

13. Auditory and acoustic analysis in speaker recognition, Francis Nolan

14. The limitations of voice identification, Alex Jones

15. Forensic analysis of personal written texts: a case study, Robert Eagleson

16. Computers, statistics and disputed authorship, Wilfred Smith

17. Powerful evidence for the defence: an exercise in forensic discourse analysis, Malcolm Coulthard

18. Confidentiality of linguistic material: the case of Aboriginal land claims, Jane Simpson

19. Lawyer's response to forensic linguistics, Dyson Heydon



About the Series

Language In Social Life

Language in Social Life is a major new series which highlights the importance of language to an understanding of issues of social and professional concern. It will be of practical relevance to all those wanting to understand how the ways we communicate both influence and are influenced by the structures and forces of contemporary social institutions.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General