The Foundation of the International Language and Law Association
The origin of the initiative to found a society and a journal can be dated pretty precisely to Sept 20, 2007, during the 5th "Berlin conference on open access" in Padua in Northern Italy. Peter Tiersma and Dieter Stein were attending this meeting, independently. They knew of each other, but had actually never personally met, until they happened to be sitting at a bar during this meeting , eventually introduced themselves to each other and got talking about all kinds of things. In the process, the topic “language and law” came up, like other topics do in the course of a casual conversation between academics. The topic caught on, and eventually the idea of a society emerged. From that point onwards, things started taking shape. Peter talked to Larry Solan, who, together with Peter, had long been working in the field, and the three of us decided to get the society and the journal language and law going. Over time, hundreds of people from around the world joined the organization, as it became an important voice in the field of language and law through the newsletter that Peter disseminated until shortly before his death in 2014.
Relaunch in 2017
Until now ILLA has been the first network sharing information about important events or published papers regarding language and law. To establish ILLA also as an living organisation with a sustainable structure the association has been relaunched during ILLA's first international conference from September 7th-9th, 2017, hosted by Friedemann Vogel in Freiburg, Germany. Regarding the overall topic "Language and Law in a World of Media, Globalisation and Social Conflicts" there were 50 talks, keynotes and workshops discussing the constitution of law by language and media in the context of multilingualism, digitalization and social conflicts around the world. Participants were also famous scholars and practitioners like Prof. Dr. Ninon Colneric, former judge of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, and Minister of Education in Hesse (Germany), Prof. Dr. R. Alexander Lorz. The congress ended on the third day with the relaunch of the association, electing the lawyer and feminist, Prof. Dr. Frances Olsen (UCLA, USA), and linguist, Prof. Dr. Friedemann Vogel (Freiburg, Germany) as presidents. As members of the steering committee has been confirmed: Prof. Dr. Anne-Lise Kjær (Copenhagen, Denmark), Prof. Dr. Ralf Poscher (Freiburg, Germany), Prof. Dr. Lawrence Solan (New York, USA) and Prof. Dr. Dieter Stein (Düsseldorf, Germany).
(More information coming soon.)
Language and Law - Legal linguistics
This relationship between law and language in its different variations is the main research subject of "legal linguists". Modern legal linguistics of the last twenty-five years is a common discipline of law and linguistics. Its members often have degrees in both linguistics and the law and explore the language based constitution of law in legislation, judicature, administration, jurisprudence (research and teaching) and commentaries. Important topics of legal linguistics are, for example: history and variation in lexicon, grammar, text and genre of law, law as structure of multimodal signs and network of texts, legal interpretation methods, implicit speech theories in legal practice, discourse in courts (between attorneys, judges, juries, defendant and public sphere), improvement of comprehension of legal text, conflict resolution, linguistic human rights, forensic analysis and others.