Legal Discourse across Cultures and Systems


Edited by Vijay K. Bhatia, Christopher N. Candlin, and Jan Engberg

ISBN : 978-962-209-852-7

Language, Linguistics, Reference

January 2008

356 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$245.00

Also available in Hardback HK$450.00

What exactly is legal about legal language? What happens to legal language when it is used across linguistic, national, socio-political, cultural, and legal systems? In what way is generic integrity of legal documents maintained in multilingual and multicultural legal contexts? What happens when the same rule of law is applied across legal systems?

By bringing together scholars and practitioners from more than ten countries, representing various jurisdictions, languages, and socio-political backgrounds, this book addresses these key issues arising from the differences in legal or sociocultural systems. The discussions are based not only on the analysis of the legal texts alone, but also on the factors shaping such constructions and interpretations.

Given the increasing international need for accurate and authoritative translation and use of legal documents, this important volume has considerable contemporary relevance in a globalized economy. It will appeal to discourse analysts, commercial consultants, legal trainers, translators, and applied researchers in professional communication, especially in the field of legal writing and languages for specific purposes.

Vijay K. Bhatia is Professor in the Department of English and Communication, City University of Hong Kong. Christopher N. Candlin is Senior Research Professor in the Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University. Jan Engberg is Associate Professor in the Department of Language and Business Communication, Aarhus School of Business, Denmark.

“This book makes a major contribution to the study of legal discourse and to our understanding of variation in professional communication practices across cultures. An outcome of a major international research project, the volume contains a series of studies focusing on the language used in international commercial arbitration documents, presenting a range of analyses, insights and perspectives on legal language in such diverse contexts as Malaysia, Brazil, India, Japan, Finland, the UK and Iran. The editors and contributors have done an excellent job in weaving together the diverse threads of this complex topic and in presenting a multidisciplinary perspective on legal language and its socio-political and communicative consequences in both national and global contexts. I am sure that this valuable book will be widely read and be of great benefit to teachers, scholars and all those interested in legal discourse.” —Ken Hyland, Professor, Institute of Education, University of London

“This book makes an important contribution to fields of international law, discourse analysis and intercultural communication. It will be an invaluable resource for legal scholars, applied linguists, legal translators and anyone interested in the influence of language and culture on law and legal process.” —Rodney Jones, Associate Professor, Department of English and Communication, City University of Hong Kong