PhD course “Communication and Rhetoric in the Judicial Process”

Por Jorge Luis Fabra Zamora (

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Rhe PhD course “Communication and Rhetoric in the Judicial Process” is organized by RELINE, an international network of researchers doing interdisciplinary studies in the field of Language and Law. The course is designed for doctoral students working on dissertations on language use in legal proceedings – including e.g. rhetoric, forensic linguistics, plain legal language, and discourse analysis – or students who, though not working within those fields, study legal proceedings from an interdisciplinary perspective. The seminar is open for doctoral students across disciplines – law, linguistics, rhetoric, communication studies, translation studies, sociology, anthropology and history.
The 2-day seminar will start on Wednesday 15 August at lunch with an introductory speech by the directors of RELINE, Jan Engberg and Anne Lise Kjær, followed by the first master class session, headed by Professor, Dr. Phil. Kati Hannken-Illjes. Kati Hannken-Illjes, is professor of speech at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Stuttgart, and specialized in a field that she calls a form of “ethnography of argumentation.” In the master class she will discuss how arguments are prepared for the courtroom on the side of the defense and how they develop in the course of the case work. Thus, her focus will be on arguments as “becomings” rather than “beings”.
In the late afternoon, the seminar will continue with a workshop that stretches into the evening. The workshop is organized as rolling thematic discussions, facilitated in small groups by the organizers and the invited speakers. The focus will be on methodological questions and the pitfalls and challenges facing the PhD-scholar doing interdisciplinary research. All students will get the opportunity to participate in all discussion groups.
Thursday 16 August starts with breakfast, followed by the second master class session, chaired by Professor Larry Solan, from the Centre for Law, Language and Cognition at the Brooklyn Law School, New York. Lawrence Solan holds both a law degree and a PhD in linguistics. His scholarly works are largely devoted to exploring interdisciplinary issues related to law, language and psychology, especially in the areas of statutory and contractual interpretation, the attribution of liability and blame, and linguistic evidence. Prior to joining the law school in 1996, Professor Solan was a partner in the firm of Orans, Elsen and Lupert, where he specialized in complex civil litigation, and he also was a law clerk to Justice Stewart Pollock of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. In his master class Larry Solan will treat three diverse subjects related to Law and Language: (1) “Truth, Lies and Insincerity in Lawyers’ Speech”; (2) “Understanding Laws: Language or Intent?”; and (3) Understanding Laws in Multilingual Settings.
Participation requires readings of approximately 100 pages.

The course covers 2 ECTS.
Deadline for signing up for the seminar: 15 June 2012. Participation will be confirmed by 1 July. By 7 July 2012 participants should submit a description of their research interests, 200-400 words, and a short biographical note. All materials and inquiries should be addressed to Anne Lise Kjær (

Registration is done by using this registration form
RELINE is subsidising most of the costs of this event. However, travel costs must be paid by the participants themselves.
Participants may wish to sign up for the RELINE seminar Talking Like a Lawyer – Talking with a Lawyer to be held at Nyborg Strand Hotel 16 – 17 August 2012, in direct continuance of the PhD course. Separate registration for this event is required. Please note that the language of the seminar will be English and Danish.