Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Meaning and Power in the Language of Law


Janny H. C. Leung, Alan Durant, Laura Nader, Christopher Hutton, Katsuo Nawa, Marco Wan, Greg Matoesian, Kristin Enola Gilbert, Meizhen Liao, Siddarth Narrain, Chris Heffer, Janny HC Leung, Janet Ainsworth, Lawrence M. Solon, Silvia Dahmen, Peter Goodrich
View all contributors
  • Date Published: January 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107112841

£ 85.00

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Legal practitioners, linguists, anthropologists, philosophers and others have all explored fundamental challenges presented by language in formulating, interpreting and applying laws. Building on centuries of interaction between legal practice and jurisprudence, the modern field of 'law and language', or 'forensic linguistics', brings insights in linguistics and related fields to bear on topics including legal drafting and translation, statutory interpretation, expert evidence on language use and dynamics of courtroom interaction. This volume presents an interlocking series of research studies engaged with different legal jurisdictions and socio-political contexts as well as with the more abstract notion of 'law'. Together the chapters, written by international leaders in their fields, highlight recent directions in research and investigate in particular how law expresses yet also conceals power relations in its crafted use of words and in the gaps and silence between those words.

    • Tackles the difficult question of law's exercise of social power through uses and styles of language, as well as gaps, silence and presumed meanings
    • Provides an international, comparative perspective on law and language issues across jurisdictions, disciplines and changing socio-political contexts
    • Each chapter is introduced by an editorial note that provides relevant context and introduces the approach being taken - ideal for students coming fresh to this field of interdisciplinary, legal and linguistic enquiry
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The editors of this book have put together a collection of articles discussing the unsaid in law, which is broad in scope and wide-ranging in theoretical backgrounds, making it a must for all those interested in the language of the law, and its implications.' Dennis Kurzon, University of Haifa, Israel

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107112841
    • length: 342 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.67kg
    • contains: 22 b/w illus. 19 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Editors' Introduction Janny H. C. Leung and Alan Durant
    Part I. Sui generis or Socially Problematic: The Character of Legal Language:
    1. The unspoken language of the law Laura Nader
    2. Seeing sense: the complexity of key words that tell us what law is Alan Durant
    3. Hiding in plain sight: the category of ordinary language and the case law domain of transgender marriage Christopher Hutton
    Part II. Imperfect Fit between Legal Categories and Social Discourse:
    4. Effects of translation on the invisible power wielded by language in the legal sphere: the case of Nepal Katsuo Nawa
    5. The language of film and the representation of legal subjectivity in Juno Mak's Rigor Mortis Marco Wan
    Part III. Written in Silence: Hidden Social Meanings in Legal Discourse:
    6. Let the fingers do the talking: language, gesture and power in closing argument Greg Matoesian and Kristin Enola Gilbert
    7. Questions about questioning: courtroom practice in China and the USA Meizhen Liao
    8. Law, language and community sentiment: behind hate speech doctrine in India Siddharth Narrain
    Part IV. Conflict between Linguistic and Legal ideologies:
    9. When voices fail to carry: voice projection and the case of the 'dumb' jury Chris Heffer
    10. Ideology and political meaning in legal translation Janny H. C. Leung
    Part V. Demands of Law and Limits of Language:
    11. Law and the grammar of judgment Janet Ainsworth
    12. Legal indeterminacy in the spoken word Lawrence M. Solan and Silvia Dahmen
    13. The said of the unsaid Peter Goodrich.

  • Editors

    Janny H. C. Leung, The University of Hong Kong
    Janny H. C. Leung is Associate Professor of English at the University of Hong Kong. Her main research interest lies in interdisciplinary work between language and law, with a particular focus on bilingual and multilingual jurisdictions. Her recent books include Language and Law: A Resource Book for Students (2016), co-authored with Alan Durant, and a forthcoming monograph on multilingual jurisdictions.

    Alan Durant, Middlesex University, London
    Alan Durant is Professor of Communication in the School of Law at Middlesex University, London. His recent books include Language and Law: A Resource Book for Students (2016), co-authored with Janny H. C. Leung, Language and Media: A Resource Book for Students (2009), co-authored with Marina Lambrou, and Meaning in the Media: Discourse, Controversy and Debate (Cambridge, 2010).


    Janny H. C. Leung, Alan Durant, Laura Nader, Christopher Hutton, Katsuo Nawa, Marco Wan, Greg Matoesian, Kristin Enola Gilbert, Meizhen Liao, Siddarth Narrain, Chris Heffer, Janny HC Leung, Janet Ainsworth, Lawrence M. Solon, Silvia Dahmen, Peter Goodrich

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.