Curriculum, language and the law

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Nikolina Korečić

HalPet Business Communication, Zagreb (Croatia)
Teaching Business Communication Skills to Croatian Lawyers
Every day millions of people belonging to different nations and cultures meet and conduct various business operations. English, serving as lingua franca, very often facilitates such intercultural encounters. Intercultural business communication is furthermore affected by the legal systems of the cultures involved. The Anglo-American legal system is based essentially on common law, whereas the legal systems of much of continental Europe are based on civil law. English, being the world’s most commonly used lingua franca, is getting used to its new function by adopting terms and concepts from both systems, especially within the framework of the European Union.

In this paper an overview of advanced business communication skills needed by lawyers in order to be able to participate in such cross-cultural encounters is given. These include business speaking skills, such as socializing, presenting, negotiating, and meetings, as well as business writing skills, such as business correspondence, contracts, and reports. All of this is supported by the practical experience of teaching business communication skills to Croatian lawyers as a part of the International Legal English Course. In conclusion, skills which seem to be of the greatest importance for Croatian lawyers are discussed and placed within the context of Croatia’s accession to the EU

Ludger Kremer – Lelija Sočanac

University of Antwerp (Belgium) – University of Zagreb (Croatia) –
Tempus Project: Foreign Languages in the Field of Law
The paper will present the main objective, outcomes and activities of the Tempus project Foreign languages in the Field of Law within whose framework the Conference “Curriculum, Language and the Law” has been organized. The three-year international project, funded by the European Commission, was initiated on 1 September 2006. The project has established a consortium network, with the University of Zagreb (Croatia) as the Coordinator and the University of Antwerp (Belgium) as the Grantholder, which includes four Croatian universities, two ministries and six EU universities. The main project objective has been to set up an interdisciplinary Centre for Language and Law, which is in charge of foreign language curriculum development and implementation of language courses for law students and legal practitioners at Croatian universities, and curriculum development and implementation of workshops for foreign language lecturers and legal translators within the framework of lifelong learning. The Centre also promotes research on various aspects of the interface between language and law, hosts Croatian and international projects on relevant research areas and promotes international cooperation. Organizing conferences on language and law and publishing research results are also important tasks of the Centre.

Mairtin Mac Aodha

N.U.I. Maynooth (Ireland)
The Bilingual Legal Dictionary and the Translator
Legal translation is an area in which dictionaries are notoriously misleading. Conventional law dictionaries are no more than mere wordlists and the translator is presented with a list of translation equivalents and little of the lexical data needed to produce legal texts. The purpose of this paper (part of my doctoral research) is to examine the applicability of the Explanatory Combinatorial Dictionary (ECD) model to bilingual law dictionaries to improve the quality of linguistic information these provide the translator. This lexicographic model, proposed in the late 1960’s by Alexander Zholkovsky and Igor Mel’čuk, has a number of original features, in particular its rich description of the restricted lexical combinatrics of each head word. Terminologists by concentrating on taxonomic and meronymic relationship overlook an entire set of relationships. Terms combine with other words in a particular way that translators and other text producers need to know. It is this neglect of lexical cooccurents that makes specialized dictionaries unable to meet the demands of translators desiring to produce texts that are idiomatic and true to the style of the domain in question. Common lexical errors made by legal translation students will be discussed, the way traditional law dictionaries contributed to these mistakes highlighted and sample ECD entries for these terms proposed. It is accordingly also a contribution to the field of jurilinguistics or la jurilinguistique which has as its focus the interaction between language and law.

Stefania M. Maci

Università di Bergamo (Italy)
Language in Litigation and Arbitration: Litigation Procedures in Arbitral Practice
The 1994 reform of the Italian Code of Civil Procedure officially promulgated arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution and aligned Italy with both European and international legislation. Since then, (international) commercial arbitration in Italy has been increasingly seen as an efficient, economical and effective alternative to litigation for settling commercial and other disputes. The 2006 Reform of Italian Arbitration Law has evidenced the attempt to solve some main issues in Italian arbitration, mainly the possibility of challenging awards caused by some loopholes deriving from the existence of as many forms of arbitration as the types of dispute which need to be solved. Despite the fact that the new reform has partially solved such problems, in order to avoid any types of challenge, the local Chambers of Commerce managing the arbitration proceedings strongly invite the party to follow a standard arbitration procedure under the control of an institutional body and to appoint arbitrators who are legal experts. As a consequence, arbitration practices seem to be influenced by litigation features. Indeed, a contrastive analysis between Italian awards and Italian legal cases has revealed instances of arbitration colonized by litigation.

It is the purpose of this paper to present more evidence in support of the hypothesis of the ‘colonization’ of litigation procedures in arbitral practices characterizing the international commercial context. To attain this goal, the paper will investigate those legal aspects (content vs. formulaic expressions) which have caused a modification of Italian and English arbitration practices in terms of intentions, purposes, and processes. The research findings will result from a contrastive analysis of English and Italian awards, on the one hand, and English and Italian legal sentences on the other.

Rada Malobabić

University of Rijeka (Croatia)
Major Syntactic Features of EU Legislative Writing
The paper analyses syntactic features of legislative writing based on a corpus of four English EU legislative documents and the Croatian translations. The corpus includes Council Framework Decision 32002F0584, Council Regulation 32005R0111, Council Framework Decision 32001F0220 and Council Decision 32003D0335.

The primary aim of the paper is to illustrate major syntactic characteristics of EU legislative writing in English and to determine to which degree EU legislative texts follow the syntactic features of traditional legislative writing. The Croatian translations of the analysed features are also provided to investigate whether and to which extent the Croatian translations follow the syntactic features of English legislative writing. The major syntactic features analysed include sentence length, nominalizations, binominal and multinomial expressions, complex prepositional phrases, syntactic indicators of condition and hypothesis, and qualifications.

Dominique Markey

Universiteit Antwerpen & Katholieke Universiteit Brussel (Belgium)
La vulgarisation du discours juridique en francophonie
Le discours et la matière juridique étant hermétiques pour un public non initié, de nombreuses instances jugent opportun de vulgariser le droit. Le juriste en herbe se doit d’être sensibilisé à ce phénomène et devrait être capable d’expliquer des sujets juridiques complexes de manière compréhensible. Notre cours de français juridique à l’Université Catholique de Bruxelles (KU Brussel) attache dès lors beaucoup d’importance aux textes vulgarisateurs. De plus, comme il s’agit d’un cours à la fois de français sur objectif spécifique et de français langue étrangère, les textes grand public s’avèrent une piste commode conduisant vers le discours juridique proprement dit.

A des fins scientifiques et didactiques, nous avons publié fin 2006 un inventaire des outils mis à la disposition – en Belgique, en France et au Canada – des usagers francophones du droit et avons tenté une première appréciation de l’accessibilité tant logistique que linguistique.

Parmi la vaste panoplie nous distinguons les publications papier, électroniques et audiovisuels, ainsi que les dispositifs présenciels. Le choix est très important et parfois déroutant, allant du récit littéraire à l’e-zine juridique de vulgarisation. Le type d’informations véhiculées par ces médias s’avère hétéroclite et leur pertinence peut souvent être remise en question. Selon les instances émettrices d’informations juridiques, certains supports sont privilégiés. Par contre, nous savons peu sur les préférences du grand public pour tel média ou tel autre. Toujours est-il que l’efficacité de ces canaux de communication vulgarisante doit être soumise à un questionnement approfondi. Le même principe vaut pour l’accessibilité linguistique: dans quelle mesure ces textes conçus pour les publics francophones visés sont-ils clairs et atteignent-ils leur but ?

Notre contribution offrira des pistes de recherche et, en marge, des indices sur l’exploitabilité de ces ressources vulgarisantes dans le cursus de français juridique.

Raquel Martínez Motos – Adelina Gómez González-Jover

University of Alicante (Spain) –
Anisomorphism in the Translation of Legal Texts:

A Comparative Study of the English and Spanish Law of Succession
The aim of this paper is twofold, on the one hand, to discuss two issues intricately related to the process and product of translation, i.e. equivalence and anisomorphism and, on the other hand, to demonstrate the potential use of comparative studies as a useful tool in the field of legal translation.

Most of the definitions of translation, or legal translation in our case, contain a key word: ‘equivalence’, Translation ultimately consists in finding in the target language the linguistic unit containing the equivalent meaning of the unit expressed in the source language. Equivalence literally refers to an equation whose terms are interchangeable in both directions. However, it is common knowledge that the complete correspondence of two sets in both directions does not exist as such, that is, there is not a one-to-one correspondence between the term on the right and the term on the left. Anisomorphism, which roughly speaking means “asymmetry”, refers to the losses and gains that there are always in interlinguistic transfer processes, and which may be taken into account when comparing two different language systems. Even though there are many other difficulties that professionals and students must overcome in the translation process of legal texts, cultural anisomorphism is a major issue that should be approached by means of comparative studies. The analysis of several illustrative examples from the field of Succession in this paper will serve as a small-scale model of other prospective large-scale studies that would provide both students and translators with a useful tool to systematize the translation process of certain legal concepts.

The reflections contained in this paper have been tackled in the framework of several research projects carried out within the IULMA (Interuniversitary Institute for Applied Modern Languages of Alicante) and supervised by Prof. Dr. Enrique Alcaraz Varó.

Borislav Marušić

Fachhochschule Lavoslav Ružička Vukovar (Kroatien)
Funktionsverbgefüge in der deutschen Verwaltungssprache
Das Ziel dieser Arbeit ist die Wichtigkeit der grammatischen Struktur, die im Deutschen Funktionsverbgefüge genannt ist, an Beispielen der deutschen Verwaltungssprache zu untersuchen. Zu diesem Zweck werden die Kollokationen aus dem Korpus aufgrund einiger deutscher Gesetztexte des Sachgebiets Verwaltung analysiert werden. Die Analyse des Korpuses nach verschiedenen Merkmalen wird den Jurastudenten aber auch Linguisten und daran interessierten Juristen bei der Beherrschung der Verwaltungssprache behilflich sein und ihnen dabei eine neue Dimension und Ansicht nicht nur zum eigenen Fach sondern auch zur Fachsprache und zur deutschen Sprache im allgemeinen öffnen.

Heikki E. S. Mattila

University of Lapland, Rovaniemi (Finland)
Legal Language in Regular Law Studies

The Experiences Gained at the University of Lapland (Finland)
Language is the basic instrument of all legal work. The ability to understand and produce legal texts and the ability to communicate with other lawyers and laypeople are among the key capacities every lawyer needs. This is why certain studies of legal linguistics, i.e. studies dealing with legal language(s), in the University of Lapland, are compulsory for all law students, and they are also offered optional complementary courses in this field. At the beginning of their studies, the law students are given a basic course on the functions and characteristics of legal language, as well as on legal terminology. In this way, the students' understanding of the relationship between law and language grows deeper. In the latter part of the studies, comparative aspects are emphasized. The students develop their capability for international legal cooperation through a course in the history and fundamental characteristics of major legal languages, especially English, French and German. During these studies, the Latin background of modern legal languages, as well as their mutual relationships and international use, particularly in the European Union, are also discussed. Simultaneously, the students’ mastery of languages is developed through general language courses. The present paper describes this study system and deals with the experiences gained.

Davide Mazzi

University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena (Italy)
His explanation […] would be discreditable if true; but I am satisfied that it is a lie’:

Discursive Strategies of Self-Projection in Equity Judgments
The linguistic study of judicial argumentation has acquired increasing importance over the last two decades. In particular, attention has been paid to the dialogic nature of legal discourse as well as to the strategies employed by judges in order to project themselves into the argumentation they construct in judgments. In spite of the apparently impersonal note of judicial argumentation, these studies show that judges very often make their argumentative voice audible on the surface of text, and in doing so they interact with a multiplicity of concurring or competing voices, e.g. the parties in the dispute. The aim of this paper is to explore the most pervasive discursive strategies of self-projection characterising judgments delivered by the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. By comparing this court, which traditionally deals with issues of equity, with House of Lords judgments, it is apparent that Chancery Division judges typically make use of phraseological clusters (e.g. I am satisfied that…, I do not accept… and I find that…) in order to foreground their argumentative voice. The qualitative study presented in the paper will shed light on the textual usage of those clusters, which act as significant tools to the dialogic construction of judicial argumentation.

Devikamani Menon – Maya David

University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) –
English Language Skills for Law: A Malaysian Case Study
Malaysian lawyers must be bilingual – proficient both in the national language-Malay and English – the second most important language in the country. Malay isthe medium of instruction in national schools while English is taught as a subject and also used for the teaching of Mathematics and Science. Young Malaysians who are admitted into Law faculties do not appear as comfortable with English as their counterparts 20 years ago.. The Law faculty in the University of Malaya has ruled that while some lectures are in Malay, all tutorials should be in English. The current presenter heading a research project entitled `English Language Skills for Law’ of which her co-presenter is also a member. Both presenters are also members of a team of teachers who are teaching the second year Law undergraduates a special English class - English for law. This enrichment course is taught for two hours a week for 28 weeks, over two semesters. This paper will describe the experimental syllabus which has been specially designed, and the impact of these sessions on the students. It will also discuss the feedback from the students and teachers with a view to re-evaluating the needs of the students. There is a special research funding for this project and it ultimately aims to publish a textbook entitled English Language Skills for Law.

Marianne Micha,

University of Mannheim (Germany)
Babel Today: On the Interpretation of Multilingual European Law
This paper criticizes the practice of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) when interpreting European multilingual legal acts and gives suggestions for improvement.

Today, 23 official languages enrich Europe’s culture. Primary as well as secondary European law is equally binding in all of these languages. Both the ECJ and national courts have to take all the language versions into consideration equally when interpreting a European provision. By comparing the different language versions a uniform, autonomous interpretation has to be found.

In practice, problems arise when the grammatical interpretation reveals inconsistencies between the different versions. The ECJ then relegates the grammatical interpretation and bases its decision on systematical and teleological grounds, even if the interpretation is not consistent with some language version.

Some scholars consider the wording of a provision to be of minor importance and support the ECJ. Since systematical and teleological arguments are accessible and foreseeable to the citizens, while a comparison of the wording is not, the ECJ promotes legal certainty. Others criticize the devaluation of the term’s meaning which stands in conflict to the language versions being the basis of the law.

The reason for the practical problems actually is that some basic principles are in conflict: The separation of powers forbids the courts to take the role of the legislator. The legal certainty demands decisions to be based on accessible and foreseeable arguments. Justified expectations of the citizens have to be respected. All the versions of European acts in the official languages are equally binding. The basic problem of the relation between law and language is discussed.

A suggestion on how to improve the interpretation of multilingual European provisions will be given by referring back to the basics of methodology and balancing out the principles of separation of powers, legal certainty and equality of the official languages.

Magdalena Nigoević

University of Split (Croatia)
Indicatori di riformulazione nei testi giuridici
La presente comunicazione si concentra sul linguaggio giuridico che di solito viene denominato: insieme di sottolinguaggi (linguaggio del diritto pubblico, del diritto privato, del diritto penale), lingua speciale, lingua settoriale. In ogni caso si tratta di una varietà diatopica legata a contesti e funzioni specifiche, ricca di tecnicismi e di strategie retoriche e di diverse tecniche argomentative.

Una delle caratteristiche salienti del linguaggio giuridico è il frequente uso degli schemi argomentativi che si realizzano con specifiche forme linguistiche. Nella lingua italiana, l'efficacia argomentativa si ottiene anche con l'uso abbastanza frequente delle espressioni che servono per indicare la conclusione di una certa argomentazione. Esse appartengono ai diversi elementi della riformulazione che consente la maggior coesione del testo, riduce l'eventuale difficoltà di comprensione e "facilita la comprensione dell'originale" . Tali elementi saranno studiati attraverso l'analisi di un corpus dei testi giuridici (testi da manuali scientifici, Codice Civile, Gazzetta Ufficiale, articoli giornalistici). L'attenzione sarà particolarmente rivolta agli 'indicatori di riformulazione' e più precisamente ai cosidetti 'indicatori di conclusione': quindi, pertanto, dunque, cosi, sicché, perciò, di conseguenza, in conclusione, per questo motivo, per queste ragioni, si conclude che, ecc. L'attenzione verrà focalizzata sulla funzione, la frequenza e la particolarità dell'uso degli indicatori nei testi studiati. Si cercherà di stabilire la loro diversità e la possibilità di interscambiarli all'interno dei testi prescelti.

John Olsson

Forensic Linguistics Institute, Llanfair Caereinion, Powys (UK)
Electronic Recording of Police Interviews: A Guarantee of Accuracy and Fairness?
A number of police recorded interviews are analysed and discussed, some with transcripts, to evaluate the question of whether recording of interviews guarantees accuracy of interview content and fairness of procedure.
It is observed that accuracy and fairness does not always take place despite extensive legal safeguards in some jurisdictions. However, counter-examples of cases where interviewing and police station procedures were not electronically recorded are also given, and it is concluded that, in general, providing certain conditions are met, it is safer, fairer and more accurate to record proceedings electronically.

Juan Miguel Ortega Herráez

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)
Fostering Co-operation in Multilingual Legal Settings:

How to Overcome the Idea of the Interpreter as an Intruder
This paper aims at analysing a major issue within interpreter mediated multilingual and multicultural legal proceedings, i.e. the interaction between the latter and other professionals working in legal settings. Within the field of Public Service Interpreting (PSI) it is widely acknowledged that there is a need to promote actions intended to foster cooperation between legal professionals and linguists, and some specific proposals have already been put forward to that end However, planning and implementation of such actions in Spain requires both prior understanding on the current relations between those two groups and a thorough analysis of the aspects shaping it.

By means of a questionnaire distributed among legal interpreters, this paper will focus on different aspects such as the perception that linguists consider other legal professionals have of them, issues that are at the source of problems within the interaction of both groups (access to information, limits to the role of the legal interpreter, etc.), and the expectations that they mutually have on the others’ task. The general conclusions of this questionnaire-based research, will serve as a basis for the proposal of some actions aimed at facilitating cooperation and better understanding between legal professionals and linguists in the Spanish context.

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