North-West University (South Africa), Faculty of Law – Justice in Practice

22 March 2022 via MS Teams (Link supplied upon registration)

Organiser: Dr Natasha Ravyse (Natasha.Ravyse[at]


Almost four decades ago, Grossfeld1 noted that language had become an element of great interest considering the power that language holds in its ability to influence a particular law. Fast-forward 17 years to when Endicott2 wrote a notable contribution Law and Language where language is cited as being “crucial to any legal system”. Fifteen years on from the latter, Durant and Leung3 dedicate their publication to explaining just how imperative the role of language is in both crafting law and governing its application. From comparative law, to legal philosophy, to forensic linguistics, it is obvious that the relationship between language and law is irrefutable and has since been the catalyst for many areas of research. Mertz and Rajah4 search for new frontiers in language and law research and it is in the spirit of this venture that the NWU Faculty of Law’s Justice in Practice is hosting its inaugural language and law colloquium. Its purpose is to inspire novel research in the field of language and law from a global south perspective, rich in multilingualism and multiculturalism; to pick up where Prinsloo, Peeters, Turi and van Rensburg5 left off in 2015; and to promote the unique perspectives and contributions we can make.

1 Grossfeld 1985 Air L. & Com.
2 Endicott 2002
3 Durant and Leung Language and Law
4 Mertz and Rajah 2021 ARLSS
5 Prinsloo et al. Language and Law in the African, including South African Context


Preliminary Programme (South African time zone - GMT+2)

Time Activity Speaker
08:30–08:35 Welcome and health check Dr Natasha Ravyse
NWU, Vanderbijlpark Campus, South Africa
Co-Project Leader: Justice in Practice
08:35–08:40 Official opening  
08:45–09:05 Lawyers v linguists: Who should decide what legal language means?

Recorded presentation
09:05–09:15 Q&A session  
09:20–09:40 Translation Rights and Exceptions under Berne, Ius Cogens, and Linguistic Genocide

Recorded presentation
09:40–09:50 Q&A session  
09:50–10:00 Break
10:00–10:20 Live presentation Dr Zakeera Docrat
University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa
NRF Profile:
10:20–10:30 Q&A session  

Spewing hate through the medium of language – showcasing instigators as poisonous pedagogues

Live presentation

Prof Avitus Agbor
NWU, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa

ResearchGate Profile:
10:50–11:00 Q&A session  
11:00–11:10 Break

Special session

The pros and cons of the implementation of a monolingual language policy for Law students in multilingual South Africa: A proposal

Recorded presentation

Ms Stephanie Mostert
NWU, Vanderbijlpark Campus, South Africa
11:25–11:45 Reflextion Session  

Closing key-note address

Dismantling Barriers: Law and Language Scholarship

Recorded presentation

Prof Jothie Rajah & Prof Elizabeth Mertz
American Bar Foundation, Chicago, USA
University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

ResearchGate profiles:
12:20–12:30 Question-noting  
12:30–12:35 Closing


To register for the colloquium, please click here.