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Legal discourse

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-T007-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

‘Legal discourse’ signifies a strong interplay between law and language, linking together law as like language and law as itself language. However, unlike other linguistically modelled accounts, this approach involves a strong opposition to formalisms and their mirror-image realisms. Language as used cannot be ‘deduced’ from any pregiven matrix or set of propositions but must be studied in terms of its own modalities. The theory of law-as-discourse takes inspiration from the study of legal rhetoric and from socio-legal analyses of the courtroom, but was developed in its own right in the post-structuralist turn in linguistics. Law-as-discourse requires an understanding of the operation of legal talk in different registers, and gestures towards an intertwining of the social, the legal and the linguistic by focusing on the speaker–hearer situation, locution and action.

Citing this article:
Brown, Beverley. Legal discourse, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-T007-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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