How just is justice? Law, Meet Linguistics

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.

Our Projects

Experimental Studies. 
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.