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Making Sense in Law

Linguistic, Psychological and Semiotic Perspectives


Bernard S. Jackson

Bernard Jackson was Queen Victoria Professor of Law at the University of Liverpool, U.K. (1989-97) and is now Alliance Professor of Modern Jewish Studies in the University of Manchester.
His other books include Semiotics and Legal Theory (RKP, 1985),
Law, Fact and Narrative Coherence (1988) and Making Sense in Jurisprudence (1996).

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Lawyers need to have a basic understanding of linguistics and psychology. This book has developed from Professor Jackson's course in Law, Linguistics and Psychology at the University of Liverpool.

Based on his own original research, both theoretical and empirical, in the semiotics of law, Professor Jackson argues that any account of legal sense commences with the processes of sense construction in general.

This is the first volume to synthesise relevant areas of linguistics, psychology and semiotics,
and to show their contribution to our understanding of law. The many examples from the legal system include

not guilty verdicts
provocation in criminal law
enacting statutes
witnessing and courtroom examination
gender issues
judicial summings-up
legal drafting
jury deliberations


Introduction (click here for e-version)

1. Some Fundamentals of Language Systems
2. Some Fundamentals of Language Use
3. Sociolinguistics: The Who, When and How of Language
4. Legal Language
5. Semiotics
6. Theories of Cognitive Competence
7. The Development of Cognition and Language
8. Moral Development
9. Personality and Emotion
10. Witnessing
11. Processing Facts in Court
12. Judge and Jury

Bibliography (click here for e-version)

Emilios Christodoulidis, reviewing the book in Legal Studies 16/3 (Nov. 1996), 424-26 writes: "... quite masterful. This is a work quite awesome in its undertaking that is due to become a significant book of reference of the still rather undertheorised field of legal semiotics. In an era when interdisciplinarity has become the word of the day, Jackson has offered us a work that is truly that."


Read also reviews by Therese Budniakiewicz, Mario Jori, Ted Sarbin. See also Choice, November 1996, no.34-1812, pp.534-35; Brunet in Droit et Société 39-1998, 457-58; Solan in Forensic Linguistics 4:2 (1997), 305-309.


Hardback ISBN 0-9513793-6-4 , Paperback ISBN 0-9513793-7-2 , Pp.xii, +516, 1995


 See also[SPECIAL OFFERS]for this book