Language plays an essential role both in creating law and in governing its implementation. Providing an accessible and comprehensive introduction to this subject, Language and Law:

  • describes the different registers and genres that make up spoken and written legal language and how they develop over time;
  • analyses real-life examples drawn from court cases from different parts of the world, illustrating the varieties of English used in the courtroom by speakers occupying different roles;
  • addresses the challenges presented to our notions of law and regulation by online communication;
  • discusses the complex role of translation in bilingual and multilingual jurisdictions, including Hong Kong and Canada; and
  • provides readings from key scholars in the discipline, including Lawrence Solan, Peter Goodrich, Marianne Constable, David Mellinkoff, and Chris Heffer.

With a wide range of activities throughout, this accessible textbook is essential reading for anyone studying language and law or forensic linguistics.


Sections A, B, and C of this book are freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license available at https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781315436258

section A|51 pages

Introduction Key Concepts

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chapter A2|5 pages

Historical Development of Legal English

chapter A3|5 pages

Legal Genres

chapter A4|5 pages

Participant Roles and Speech Styles

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chapter A5|4 pages

Persuasion in Court

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chapter A6|5 pages

Interpreting Legislative Texts

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chapter A7|5 pages

The Vocabulary of Legal Power

chapter A8|5 pages

Regulation Of Language Use

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chapter A9|5 pages

Forensic Evidence

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chapter A10|7 pages

Legal Order and Linguistic Diversity

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section B|53 pages


chapter B1|7 pages

Linguistic Features of Legal Language

chapter B2|5 pages

Functions of Legal Language

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chapter B3|5 pages

Genre Analysis of Legal Discourse

chapter B4|3 pages

Speech in the Courtroom

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chapter B5|5 pages

Linguistic Strategies Used by Lawyers

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chapter B6|6 pages

Pragmatics and Legal Interpretation

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chapter B7|6 pages

Legal Speech Acts

chapter B8|5 pages

Disputing ‘Ordinary Language’

chapter B9|5 pages

Techniques in Forensic Linguistics

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chapter B10|5 pages

Bilingual and Multilingual Legal Systems

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section C|61 pages


chapter C1|5 pages

Perception of Legal Language

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chapter C2|4 pages

Reforming Legal Language

chapter C3|7 pages

Reading a Statute

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chapter C4|7 pages

Restricted Verbal Interaction in Court

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chapter C5|7 pages

Techniques in Legal Advocacy

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chapter C6|5 pages

Deciding Legal Meaning

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chapter C7|7 pages

Spoken and Written Performatives

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chapter C8|5 pages

Misleading Language in Adverts

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chapter C9|8 pages

Language Data as Evidence

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chapter C10|5 pages

Same Law, Different Texts

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section D|43 pages


chapter D1|4 pages

Law as a Profession of Words

chapter D2|3 pages

Making Legal Language Comprehensible

chapter D3|4 pages

The Language of Jury Trial

chapter D4|4 pages

Courtroom Language

chapter D5|4 pages

Talking the Language of Lawyers

chapter D6|5 pages

Perspectives on Legal Interpretation

chapter D7|4 pages

Understanding Legal Speech Acts and Rules

chapter D8|4 pages

Language Struggles Online

chapter D9|4 pages

Resolving Disputed Meaning in Court

chapter D10|5 pages

Bilingualism and Jury Service