Review Article of Recht und Sprache in der Praxis/Law and Language in Practice (Facultas 2021)

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftSonstiger Beitrag in Fachzeitschrift


Kohl and Nimmerfall, two legal scholars from the Faculty of Law at the University of Vienna, have put forth an edited volume dealing with 'law and language in practice'. In this article, I present a critical evaluation of the work, taking into consideration its structure and organisation, the range and depth of the work, and the construction of and perspectivation on legal language in use and the legal language user. I do so from the interdisciplinary view of (applied) legal linguistics and social semiotics, two areas of critical intellectual inquiry that are doubtlessly underrepre-sented in this volume. While legal linguists in Austria have anticipated the work as a hopeful bridge-builder across the domains of law and language, Kohl and Nim-merfall display a lack of awareness towards ongoing controversies in legal linguistics on the national and international level that seriously jeopardise the aim of the work. Currently the volume is being used in a course held by the authors entitled "Legal Literacy: Contract drafting, legislation and other areas of law". Despite the work's breadth of legal contexts touched upon and its undisputed worth for the community of practice, the work gives a sometimes disconcerting impression of authority in the field. While the authors' openness to embracing language issues in legal contexts ought to be welcomed, the nearly complete lack of references made to the ever-growing body of research in legal linguistics, not only in Austria but around the globe, is surprising and concerning.
Seiten (von - bis)807-822
FachzeitschriftInternational Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2022
Extern publiziertJa