Multilingual Law: A Framework for Analysis and Understanding, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Multilingual Law

A Framework for Analysis and Understanding, 1st Edition

By Colin D Robertson


274 pages

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This book introduces and explores the concept of multilingual law. Providing an overview as to what is 'multilingual law', the study establishes a new discourse based on this concept, which has hitherto lacked recognition for reasons of complexity and multidisciplinarity. The need for such a discourse now exists and is becoming urgent in view of the progress being made towards European integration and the legal and factual foundation for it in multilingualism and multilingual legislation.

Covering different types of multilingual legal orders and their distinguishing features, as well as the basic structure of legal systems, the author studies policy formation, drafting, translation, revision, terminology and computer tools in connection with the legislative and judicial processes.

Bringing together a range of diverse legal and linguistic ideas under one roof, this book is of importance to legal-linguists, drafters and translators, as well as students and scholars of legal linguistics, legal translation and revision.


'Drawing a broad picture of the numerous dimensions of multilingual law from various viewpoints of law and language, this book provides an excellent introduction to multilingual legal drafting, legal translation, legal lexicography and related areas. Its focus on practical matters makes it particularly useful for practitioners and students.'

Susan Šarcevic, University of Rijeka, Croatia

'Colin Robertson provides a practical perspective on multilingual law, the culmination of his experience as a lawyer-linguist at the European Union. His insightful approach to the topic constitutes an original contribution to this interdisciplinary field, and even lay readers will be attracted by his highly engaging style of writing.'

Christopher Williams, University of Foggia, Italy

`A masterly study of the subject, combining a wealth of scholarly research with the author’s extensive practical experience.’

Professor Thomas G. Watkin, Formerly First Welsh Legislative Counsel, UK

Table of Contents

PART I: Introduction

Chapter 1: The concept of multilingual law

Chapter 2: Framework of models and an overview


Chapter 3: Viewpoints of law

Chapter 4: Legal texts

Chapter 5: Law of language(s)

PART III: Language

Chapter 6: Viewpoints of language

Chapter 7: Language(s) for legal purposes

PART IV: Signs

Chapter 8: Law and language as signs

PART V: Meaning

Chapter 9: Texts, terms and meanings

PART VI: Translation and revision

Chapter 10: Viewpoints of translation

Chapter 11: Revision

PART VII: Back-up, support and training

Chapter 12: Tools and technology

Chapter 13: Education and training

PART VIII: Framework, models and applications

Chapter 14: Framework for analysis and understanding

Chapter 15: Multilingual law


About the Author

Colin Robertson is a member of the Law Society of Scotland and worked for many years as legal-linguistic expert on EC and EU legislative texts at the Council of the European Union, Brussels. He has published on issues related to law and language.

About the Series

Law, Language and Communication

Law, Language and Communication

This series encourages innovative and integrated perspectives within and across the boundaries of law, language and communication, with particular emphasis on issues of communication in specialized socio-legal and professional contexts. It seeks to bring together a range of diverse yet cumulative research traditions related to these fields in order to identify and encourage interdisciplinary research. The series welcomes proposals - both edited collections as well as single authored monographs - emphasizing critical approaches to law, language and communication, identifying and discussing issues, proposing solutions to problems, offering analyses in areas such as legal construction, interpretation, translation and de-codification.

Anne Wagner is Professor of Legal Semiotics and Research Professor at Centre de Recherche Droits & Perspectives du Droit, équipe René Demogue, Lille University, France. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law (Springer) and President of the International Roundtables for the Semiotics of Law. She has been awarded the National Research Grant for her research career. Her main research interests include semiotics, verbal and non-verbal sign system analyses, language and law, legal culture and heritage, legal translation, legal terminology, and legal discourse studies.

Vijay K. Bhatia, formerly Professor of English, City University of Hong Kong, is now Adjunct Professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Visiting Professor at the Hellenic American University, Athens (Greece). He is also the founding President of the Languages for Specific Purposes and Professional Communication Association for Asia-Pacific. His research interests include Critical Genre Analysis, academic and professional discourses in legal, business, newspaper, and promotional contexts; ESP and Professional Communication; simplification of legal and other public documents; intercultural and cross-disciplinary variations in professional genres.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
LAW / General
LAW / Communications
LAW / Comparative
LAW / Dictionaries & Terminology
LAW / Legal Writing
LAW / Practical Guides