Our innovative Forensic Linguistics programme offers the theory and techniques to critically analyse the use of language in a variety of legal contexts. You will learn to critically evaluate expert testimony on forensic matters and to consider the role of expertise in legal systems more generally.
You will receive a grounding in research methods and issues and debates in forensic linguistics. You will acquire tools for evaluating and examining a range of legal language in relation to issues such as power and comprehensibility. You will also develop skills in research and writing at higher degree level and learn to engage with the legal system as a site of social life where important decisions are made through language.
On successful completion of the programme you will have achieved the following outcomes:
- the application of descriptive data analysis skills in a wide range of spoken and written discourse contexts within the legal process, including emergency calls, police interviews, courtroom interaction, judicial judgments;
- a critical understanding of investigative data analysis skills in both spoken and written discourse contexts, including such areas as disputed authorship and plagiarism detection;
- critical understanding of the work of linguists as advisers and activists on legal systems and settings.
This degree programme has two main aims:
- To introduce linguistic aspects of the criminal justice system including those which centre on policing and the courtroom whilst also looking to the surrounding legal system. The programme examines issues of justice, fairness and equality in law as they relate to language and communication.
- To explore the role of the linguist when interacting with legal and legislative systems by examining the actual or potential impact of linguistics (broadly defined) on criminal investigations and on legal activities and procedures. Here, we examine the work of expert witnesses and linguistic consultants on language and law and consider the opportunities and challenges inherent in research for each purpose.