Book – Handbook on Legal Languages

A Handbook on Legal Languages and the Quest for Linguistic Equality in South Africa and Beyond is an interdisciplinary publication located in the discipline of forensic linguistics/ language and law. This handbook includes varying comparative African and global case studies on the use of language(s) in courtroom discourse and higher education institutions: Kenya; Morocco; Nigeria; Australia; Belgium; Canada; and India.

These African and global case studies form the backdrop for the critique of the monolingual English language of record policy for South African courts, the core of this handbook, discussed in relation to case law and the beleaguered legal interpretation profession.

This handbook argues that linguistic transformation and decolonisation of South Africa’s legal and higher education systems needs to be undertaken where legal practitioners are linguistically equipped to litigate in a bilingual/ multilingual courtroom that enables access to justice for the majority of African language speaking litigants, enforcing their constitutional language rights.

  • Foreword – Justice Belinda Hartle
  • Preface – Zakeera Docrat, Russell H. Kaschula , Monwabisi K. Ralarala
  • 1. Introduction – Discussion Map, Research Question and Objectives
  • 2. The Language of Proceedings in Courts on the African Continent – Kenya, Nigeria and Morocco
  • 3. Insights from International Case Studies on Language and Law – Australia, Belgium, Canada and India
  • 4. The Monolingual Language of Record In South African Courts – The Complications of Court Interpretation and the Introduction of Administrative Law
  • 5. The Language Question in Legislative and Policy Instruments – A Forensic Linguistics Approach to Language Planning and Legislative Drafting
  • 6.1 South Africa’s Constitutional Language Rights and Provisions – A Language Right or an Interpretational Right?
  • 6.2 Linguistic (In)Equality in South Africa’s Legal System – Linguistic Equality for African Language-Speaking Litigants
  • 7. The Language Question before Courts – Selected South African Case Law
  • 8. South Africa’s Legal Practitioners and Judicial Officers – Language Qualifications and Competencies
  • 9. The Relationship between South Africa’s Legal System and Higher Education Institutions – A Policy-Based Approach
  • 10. Conclusions and Recommendations – The Way Forward

See the publisher’s website here for more information including how to obtain the book.

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