The Analysis of Legal Cases: A Narrative Approach, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Analysis of Legal Cases

A Narrative Approach, 1st Edition

By Flora Di Donato


316 pages

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Hardback: 9780415788939
pub: 2019-07-25
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This book examines the role played by narrative and culture in the construction of legal cases and their resolution. The work is articulated in two parts. Part I recalls epistemological turns in legal thinking as it moves from theory to practice in order to show how facts are constructed within the legal process. By combining interdisciplinary paradigms and methods, the work analyses the evolution of facts from their expression by the client to their translation within the lawyer-client relationship and the subsequent decision of the judge, focusing on the dynamic activity of narrative constuction among those key actors: client, lawyer and judge. Part II expands the scientific framework toward a law-and-culture-oriented perspective, illustrating how legal stories take shape in the fabric of the authentic dimensions of everyday life. The book stresses the capacity of laypeople, who in this activity are equated with clients, to shape the law, dealing not just with formal rules, but also with implicit or customary rules, in given contexts. By including the illustration of cases concerning vulnerable clients, it lays the foundations for developing a socio-clinical research programme, whose aims including enabling lay and expert actors to meet for the purposes of improving forms of collective narrations and generating more just legal systems.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Colette Daiute and Ann Shalleck


PART I Theoretical and methodological frameworks

1 Culture, narrative and law

2 The narrative turn in the legal field

3 Fact-finding: contexts, roles and methods

PART II Trajectories of cases analysis

Section I - Fact-construction

4 Rediscovering the role of the client

5 The lawyer as translator

6 The judge as a creative decision maker

Section II - Narratives in cultural contexts

7Lay People in Action I: Natives’ Stories

8 Lay People in Action II: Foreigners’ Stories

Section III - Improving access to justice for vulnerable people

9 Collaborative lawyering and story construction: asylum seekers’ stories

Conclusions Moving towards new directions of narrative theory and clinical-legal research

About the Author

Flora Di Donato is an Assistant professor of Philosophy of Law, at the Federico II University of Naples, where she teaches Clinical Legal Education (Formazione Clinico Legale). Her research focuses on the analysis of the law in real life and the contribution of lay people in constructing the meaning of the law. In 2010 she was awarded the Annual RCSL Adam Podgórecki (ISA) Prize "for her outstanding achievements as an emerging scholar in socio-legal research". She has been a research fellow and a visiting scholar in several different Swiss and USA Universities.

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
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics
LAW / General
LAW / Communications
LAW / Courts
LAW / Jurisprudence