top University of Haifa Faculty of humanities
Theme: The development of legal language and its interpretation; linguistic and pragmatic aspects of the evolution of the synchronic understanding

August 1-4 2016     University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel

Call for Papers

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the Sixth International Conference on Law, Language and Discourse (LLD) will be held at Haifa University, Haifa, Israel, on August 1-4 2016 (Monday through Thursday).

It is generally accepted by the public that the legal language spoken in court and written in legal documents is hard or even impossible to understand. Studies show that there are indeed some differences between ordinary and legal language (in particular, in vocabulary and in the complexity of its syntax). However, besides the words used and their grammatical structure, legal language must appear incoherent to the general public for another reason – not just because of what is said in this language, but also because of what is implied without saying: the professional legal knowledge presumed, as a rule, in legal texts. This knowledge is presented explicitly only rarely, but typical legal texts can be thoroughly understood only if legal knowledge is considered implicit in them.

At least since the publication of Charles Fillmore’s theory of Case Grammar, it is widely accepted (and is, in fact, the starting point of inferential pragmatics) that speakers present information implicitly quite regularly. Efficient speakers do not waste time on saying what their addressees already know or can easily infer – they imply it instead. Legal language is, in fact, the language used by legal professionals to communicate among themselves (for example, in court the parties’ attorneys address the judge and the judge addresses the judicial forum of any possible appeal). The speakers of legal discourse have reason to assume, therefore, that their addressees – legal professionals – have all the relevant legal knowledge. Accordingly, they do not waste time on presenting it explicitly – rather, they imply it. The language used in legal discourse is therefore inevitably characterized by the implicit presentation of legal professional information.

What needs to be studied, therefore, is the type of legal information that is presented implicitly in certain types of legal text and the cues (textual or others) that can guide nonprofessional readers of these texts to obtain this information.

Invited Speakers*

Prof. Janet Ainsworth, School of Law, Seattle University, USA
Prof. Aharon Barak, President of the Supreme Court of Israel (ret.), the Yale Law School, USA, Radzyner Law School, Israel  
Prof. Robyn Carston, Psychology and Language Sciences, UCL, England
Prof. Le Cheng, School of Law, School of International Studies, Associate Dean, International Relations, Zhejiang University, China
Prof. Laura Ervo, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, University of Örebro, Sweden
Prof. Liu Guanghua, School of Law, Lanzhou University, China
Prof. Dennis Kurzon, Department of English and Literature, University of Haifa, Israel
Prof. Bernard Levinson, Classical and Near Eastern Studies, Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, Law School, University of Minnesota, USA
Prof. Berachyahu Lifshitz, Faculty of Law, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Prof. Aleksandra Matulewska, Institute of Linguistics, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
Prof. Jacob L. Mey, Department of Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark
Prof. Lawrence Solan, the Brooklyn Law School, USA
Prof. Anne Wagner, Applied Linguistics, Université du Littoral Côte d'Opale, France

*There might still be minor changes to this list.

Subtopics

The conference addresses issues that concern the current development of theory and method in all the intersections of language with different aspects of law and legal discourse from various legal traditions, languages, and nations.

The topics include, but are not limited to:

Legal language and discourse:
- Intercultural differences in the features that make legal language a sublanguage
- Courtroom language and interpretation
- Plain language movements

Interpretation in religious and historic systems of law:
- Jewish Rabbinic courts and the Halachah
- Jewish Halachah and the Bible
- Roman ecclesiastical courts and Catholic Canon law
- Sharia courts and the Quran and Sunnah
- Law, precedent, and application in historic legal systems

Language as evidence:
- Authorship attribution problem
- Copyright issues
- Forensic phonetics

Abstract submission
We invite abstracts (500 words maximum, excluding bibliography) for individual papers: oral presentation or posters, organized session.
Authors are required to submit their proposal electronically, in PDF format (without security restrictions on copying or printing).
Each abstract will be reviewed anonymously by the LLD6 Organizing Committee.
Abstracts should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Please attach two versions of the abstract: one with author(s)’s name(s) and affiliation(s) and one anonymous (both in doc and pdf format).
Proposals in any of the following formats are welcome:

Individual Paper or Poster Submission

If you are not a participant in a pre-organized session, the LLD6 Program Committee will place your paper in the most appropriate session available. Please choose your keywords carefully to help steer your paper into the most appropriate session.

To request participation in the conference as a regular paper presenter, the following items need be submitted:
-  Author(s)’s name and affiliation
-  Contact details
-  Title of the proposed presentation
-  Abstract (of no more than 500 words)
-  Keywords

Organized Sessions

To submit an organized session, the following items need be submitted: Session title, description, organizers, chairperson, and discussants.
Organized sessions should be comprised of 4 presentations and a discussant for each presentation. For each presentation, author(s)’s name and affiliation, title and abstract (up to 500 words) are needed.
Organizers should submit the abstracts, and provide us with their presentation.

Requirements for Executive Session Submissions
Submissions consist of two sets of information.
Organizers are responsible for submitting the first set:
§  Title of the proposed session
§  Session abstract (of no more than 500 words)
§  Keywords
§  Presenters’ names and affiliations 
§  Contact details

Presenters are responsible for submitting the second set:
-  Title of the proposed session
-  Individual abstract (of no more than 500 words)
-  Keywords
-  Contact details

Associated conference volume or journal publication

All accepted papers will be published in a special issue of a journal such as International Journal of Law, Language and Discourse (1 year), International Journal for the Semiotics of Law (1-2 years), or Semiotica (1.5-2 years), depending on the quality and themes of the peer-reviewed papers; or in an edited volume, for which we have a book proposal first (3-6 months for review; we may do that shortly after we select some original abstracts and 1-2 sample chapters) and if approved by a publisher (usually Ashgate), then we go for full chapters. It usually takes a year and a half for the final product to be issued.

Scientific Committee 
Prof. Janet Ainsworth, Seattle University, USA
Dr. Orly Albeck, The Academy of the Hebrew language, Israel
Prof. Shulamit Almog, University of Haifa, Israel
Prof. Le Cheng, Zhejiang University, China
Prof. Dennis Kurzon, University of Haifa, Israel
Prof. Berachyahu Lifshitz, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Prof. Zohar Livnat, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Ran Lustigman, Lawyer, Israel
Dr. Yaniv Roznai, New York University, USA
Joseph Shatach, Lawyer, Israel
Prof. Lawrence Solan, The Brooklyn Law School, USA
Prof. Anne Wagner, Université du Littoral Côte d'Opale, France
Prof. Zvi Zohar, Bar Ilan University, Israel

Contact information
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web Site: http://LLD6.haifa.ac.il

Important Dates
Organized Sessions Submission Deadline: April 15, 2016
Individual Paper or Poster Submission Deadline: April 15, 2016
Notification: April, 20, 2016
Conference: August 1-4 2016

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