Strategies in the contest between lawyer and witness

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categorie: Engleza

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nivel: Facultate

Strategies in the contest between lawyer and witness
The witnesses’ testimonies can either make or break the case being presented. Testimony is not the only type of evidence – documents, photographs and many other kinds of proof are equally acceptable – but it remains extremely important. It is the lawyer’s job to prove the facts of the story alleged in the complain[...]
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Strategies in the contest between lawyer and witness
The witnesses’ testimonies can either make or break the case being presented. Testimony is not the only type of evidence – documents, photographs and many other kinds of proof are equally acceptable – but it remains extremely important. It is the lawyer’s job to prove the facts of the story alleged in the complaint.

In most cases, the lawyer’s objective is to discredit opposition witnesses and minimize the impact of their testimony. There are many cases in which the defense lawyer has no prove and he must discredit the plaintiff’s witnesses through cross-examination. And it is in such contexts that lawyers make maximal use of their linguistic power accorded to them.

Strategies in the contest between lawyer and witness
Chapter 1: English in the law courts
In 1362 an important step was taken toward restoring English to its dominant place as the language of England. For a long time, probably from a date soon after the Norman Conquest, French had been the language of all legal proceedings.

But in the fourteenth century such a practice was clearly without justification, and in 1356 the mayor and aldermen of London ordered that proceedings in the sheriffs’ court of London and Middlesex be in English (Shape, 1905: 73). Six years later, in the Parliament held in October 1362, the Statute of Pleading was enacted, to go into effect toward the end of the following January.

The Statute of Pleading was enacted because many people involved in the judicial process didn’t understood what is said for them or against them in a trial. Therefore, this Statute was made to help people to understand the judicial system, the law and to help them to defend themselves in a trial, because not many afforded a lawyer in those times. According to this Statute of Pleading, all lawsuits shall be pleaded, shewed, defended, answered, debated, and judged in the English tongue. (Statutes of the Realm, 1, p. 375-76. The original is in French. The petition on which it was based is in Rotuli Parliamentorum, II, p. 273).It is interesting to note that the reason frankly stated for the action is that French is much unknown in the said realm. This constitutes the official recognition of English.

Strategies in the contest between lawyer and witness
1.1. PRINCIPLES OF CONVERSATION ANALYSIS
Verbal interaction is the central and defining feature of human social life. Whether at home, at work, or at leisure, we spend an enormous amount of time talking to one another. The method used is straightforward: record every day conversations, transcribe them, and then dissect the transcripts in an effort to discern the resources that people employ to maintain order and coherence in social discourse. (John M. Conley and William M. O’Barr, Just Words: Law, Language and Power, 2005) The most important discovery about talk in everyday contexts is its orderly and highly structured nature.

Strategies in the contest between lawyer and witness
Without external supervision or any conscious awareness of how they are doing it, participants in a conversation come to instantaneous tacit agreement on such complex questions as whose turn it is to speak and how long a speaking turn should last.
Conversation analysts tell us that conversations are governed by a structure that is as fundamental to talk as are the sounds of a language and its rules for constructing meaningful expressions. This structure is the grammar of talking.
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