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Legal-Lay CommunicationTextual Travels in the Law$
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Chris Heffer, Frances Rock, and John Conley

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199746842

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746842.001.0001

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From Legislation to the Courts

From Legislation to the Courts

Providing Safe Passage for Legal Texts through the Challenges of a Police Interview

Chapter:
(p.55) Chapter 3 From Legislation to the Courts
Source:
Legal-Lay Communication
Author(s):

Georgina Heydon

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746842.003.0003

This chapter examines texts which are used to explain suspects’ rights during interview. These texts must comply with legislative requirements. This entails using prescribed legal language to properly represent the legislation yet simultaneously ensuring that the suspect understands the text. As a result, the texts created and used to communicate the suspect’s rights are subjected to the stresses of colliding discursive trajectories once they reach interview. The legal-police discourse presses the text to remain unchanged from its original legislative form in order to protect the police institutional interests. However the lay-suspect discourse potentially changes the text to adequately address lay participants’ needs. Scrutiny of the colliding discourse trajectories in interviews reveals that the availability of a ‘professional police voice’ might alleviate some of the communicative problems that occur during the administration of police cautions and legal explanations.

Keywords:   rights, police caution, discursive trajectories, professional police voice, explanation, interview

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