Law, Meet Linguistics  How Just is Justice?

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Photo by Mikhail Pavstyuk on Unsplash

The Linguistics & Law Lab is working at the border between law and linguistics to improve justice through linguistic research.

  • What makes legal language so difficult?
  • Can linguistic research help make it accessible to all populations, including non-native speakers and speakers of non-standard dialects?

Interested in learning more? Click here to learn about our current research.

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Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

Currently, our team of 8 undergraduate students, who come from a variety of majors, are investigating the general public’s comprehension of jury instructions. We have discovered several linguistic factors that affect understanding and our experiments have revealed that our new versions are significantly clearer than current instructions.  We are also reflecting on our 2017 conference, The Syntax of Justice: Law, Language, Access & Exclusion, where linguists and legal professionals discussed (1) how language can lead to injustice and (2) how the two fields can work together to pursue change.