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Facing people through language use - linguistic tools to make proceedings fair
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2171-6580
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Legal Discourse, ISSN 2364-883X, Vol. 1, no 2, 277-293 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Court proceedings should be fair. Accordingly, the right to be heard has traditionally been considered one of the fundamental principles of court proceedings. Earlier, this right was mainly interpreted in a normative and rather passive sense. Recently, however, the interpretation of the right to be heard has developed towards the requirement of active and factual participation of court parties on equal terms with the other parties involved. The explanation for this should be sought in modern (procedural) law, which is more sociologically influenced than has previously been the case. Nowadays fairness is also about feelings. Welfare in courts means not only the rule of law and legal security in its traditional form, but also a good atmosphere and the presence of concrete means to give fair experiences to people who visit courts. This places communication and interaction between judges and parties in a central position as some of the most important instruments for achieving a fair hearing. With regard to the formulation of judgments and decisions, it is important that court lawyers put themselves in the parties’ situation and give careful deliberation to the purpose of their texts and how they will be perceived and understood by those concerned. The media, too, has a key role to play as a communicating link between the courts and citizens. For the media to be able to give an all-round and balanced picture of the courts, decision-making processes in courts must, as far as possible, be observable, or, in other words, transparent. Therefore, courts are in the process of throwing open their doors and judges no longer tend to hide behind their law-books. Post-modern legal decision-making is “doing justice together” rather than isolated use of power. Courts need to face people. And to do that, they need to master the most crucial instrument of all, namely appropriate language use. The present article discusses how to realize/operationalize this “modern” form of fairness in courts and how to maintain it with reference to legal theory and practical needs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Walter de Gruyter, 2016. Vol. 1, no 2, 277-293 p.
Keyword [en]
court communication; fair hearing; Hume´s guillotine; media publicity; official language; therapeutic jurisprudence; trust in courts
National Category
Law General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53867DOI: 10.1515/ijld-2016-0015OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-53867DiVA: diva2:1054989
Available from: 2016-12-09 Created: 2016-12-09 Last updated: 2016-12-16Bibliographically approved

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Ervo, Laura
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School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Sweden
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