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Title: Making a case : narrative and paradigmatic modes in the legal-lay discourse of English jury trial
Author: Heffer, Chris
ISNI:       0000 0001 1160 0659
Awarding Body: The University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis is a study of the language used by legal professionals before English juries. it investigates a distinction between two principal cultural-cognitive modes and examines their effect on forensic discourse. The 'paradigmatic' mode is evident in the discourse of professional legal argumentation, while the 'narrative' mode typifies the sociolinguistic praxis of 'lay' language users. The thesis argues that 'legal-lay' discourse is characterised by a dialectical relationship resulting from the attempt by barristers and judges to satisfy both the paradigmatic demands of the law and the lay jury's narrative constructions of social experience. Thus legal professionals invoke a range of discoursal. strategies oriented to both modes. These strategies are explored in a set of corpora of legal-lay genres, including 100 witness examinations and judicial summings-up to the jury. The barrister's discourse is shown to draw heavily on the narrative mode despite paradigmatic legal constraints on witness examination. It is also claimed that accommodation to the narrative mode in the judge's legal directions might assist jury comprehension, but that such 'narrativisation' may increase the risk of judicial bias. The study is an interdisciplinary one and employs a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methods.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available