This volume responds to a growing interest in the language of legal settings by situating the study of language and law within contemporary theoretical debates in discourse studies, linguistic anthropology, and sociolinguistics. The chapters in the collection explore many of the common occasions when those acting on behalf of the legal system, such as the police, lawyers and judges, interact with those coming into contact with the legal system, such as suspects and witnesses. However the chapters do this work through the conceptual lens of 'textual travel', or the way that texts move across space and time and are transformed along the way. Collectively, notions of textual travel shed new light on the ways in which texts can influence, and are influenced by, social and legal life.
With contributions from leading experts in language and law, Legal-Lay Communication explores such 'textual travel' themes as the mediating role of technologies in the investigatory stages of the legal process, the centrality of intertextuality in the legal construction of cases in court, the transformative effects of recontextualization in processes of judicial decision-making, and the way that processes of textual travel disturb the apparent permanence of legal categorization. The book challenges both the notion of legal text as a static repository of meaning and the very idea of legal-lay or lay-legal communication.