The Linguistics & Law Lab is working at the border between law and linguistics to improve justice through linguistic research. Using tools from linguistics, our goal is to make legal language accessible — to all people, including non-native English speakers and speakers of non-standard dialects.
What makes legal language so difficult? Our studies have revealed several linguistic factors that affect understanding. And we have shown that minimizing these factors improves comprehension .
We run workshops and consult with Massachusetts judges on how to write clear jury instructions.
Our 2017 joint conference with the Northeastern U Law School, The Syntax of Justice: Law, Language, Access & Exclusion, brought together linguists and legal professionals to discuss (1) how language is connected to injustice in many legal arenas and (2) how we can work together to pursue change.