The Language of Law Reform

The Language of Law Reform
Date
09 Jul 2019, 09:00 to 09 Jul 2019, 16:00
Type
Conference / Symposium
Venue
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR
Description

 

The Language of Law Reform 

Reform of the law is a necessary and continuing process. It is about keeping the law up-to-date, ensuring that its underlying purpose is transmitted in as effective a manner as possible. Over the last decades countries around the world have created law reform bodies in the Commissions' image. They may wish to reflect on the British Law Commissions' responses to the changes and challenges they have faced to review their own law reform apparatus. Likewise, the British Law Commissions may seek inspiration from other commissions' experiences.

In terms of the law reform perspective, it might be useful to recall Jeffrey Barnes’ assumptions about plain language and law reform: (i) ‘[t]he operation of legislation can only be fully understood in terms of its background.’ If an instrumental position is taken, the background can be seen to include recognition of a ‘problem’, determination of objectives, and the choice of means for their achievement; (ii) there are ‘inherent difficulties in the drafting of legislation’. The drafter is not a mere scribe, and drafting is affected by the environment of the Parliamentary process; (iii) the implementation of legislation can be enormously affected by various ‘filtering agents’ – rule enforcers, rule interpreters, and the population at whom legislation is directed. They can ‘constrain, adapt and modify the intentions and policies that may have motivated the passage of the legislation in the first place’; (iv) if the law maker or someone else wishes to know how the law in question has performed and the extent to which the goals of legislation have been met, the investigation will benefit from the adoption of a broadly ‘scientific’ approach (J. Barnes, ‘The Continuing Debate about “Plain Language” Legislation: A Law Reform Conundrum’, Statute Law Review, Vol. 27, No. 2, 2006, pp. 85-86).

The theme of law reform and the way meaning and text functions develop or might evolve in the process of text production is a crucial issue. Effective legislation is more likely to be accomplished when the efficacy of the drafted legislation is tested by linguistic and discoursal analysis of its outcomes. In fact, without the possibility of an immediate linguistic exchange, law reform may certainly lose a great deal of its potential and valuable results. The study of language and how it is constructed and employed has lessons for statutory drafters (as creators of law) at one end of the legal spectrum, and for legal advisers and courts (as interpreters of law) at the other. Systematic review and focused codification are steps in a legislative process which attempt to minimise misinterpretation and misapplication.

PROGRAMME

9.00am - Welcome and opening of the seminar
Constantin Stefanou, Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies, Academic Director and Director of Research Programmes, IALS.
Giulia Adriana Pennisi, Professor, Linguistics, University of Palermo; Associate Research Fellow, IALS. 

9.30am
Helen Xanthaki, Professor of Law, University College London; Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS.
Ana Marrades, Senior Lecturer of Constitutional Law, University of Valencia. 

10.30am – 11.00am Coffee break 

11.00am
Daniel Greenberg, Counsel for Domestic Legislation, House of Commons; Associate Research Fellow, IALS.
Henni Ouahes, Law Commission UK and Stephanie Theophanidou Cardiff University and research assistant at the Law Commission UK. 

12.00pm – 1.00pm Break (lunch is not provided)

1.00pm
Isabela Fairclough, Senior Lecturer, Linguistics, School of Humanities and Social Science, University of Central Lancashire. 

1.30pm
William Robinson, Associate Research Fellow, IALS
Maria De Benedetto, Professor of Administrative Law, Roma Tre University and Livia Lorenzoni, Research Assistant University of Roma Tre. 

2.30pm
Julie Abbou, Aix- Marseille University
Giulia Adriana Pennisi, Professor, Linguistics, University of Palermo; Associate Research Fellow, IALS 

3.30pm – 4.00pm Concluding Remarks
Constantin Stefanou, Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies, Academic Director and Director of Research Programmes, IALS.
Giulia Adriana Pennisi, Professor, Linguistics, University of Palermo; Associate Research Fellow, IALS. 


CONFERENCE FEES:  Standard Rate: £20.00.  Student Rate: £10.00. Free for students and staff of SAS and the Sir William Dale Centre (booking required). Note:  The conference fee includes morning and afternoon refreshment.  Lunch is not included.

Contact

IALS Events Office
ials.events@sas.ac.uk
020 7862 5800