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Speak English or What?Codeswitching and Interpreter Use in New York City Courts$
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Philipp Sebastian Angermeyer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199337569

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199337569.001.0001

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“I’ve heard your story:” How arbitrators decide

“I’ve heard your story:” How arbitrators decide

Chapter:
(p.42) 3 “I’ve heard your story:” How arbitrators decide
Source:
Speak English or What?
Author(s):

Philipp Sebastian Angermeyer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199337569.003.0003

Chapter 3 describes the structure of arbitration hearings. These hearings represent a relatively informal type of court proceeding, in which small claims cases in New York are typically decided. This chapter focuses on the demands that the arbitrators (who preside over these hearings) make of litigants, especially with regard to narrative testimony. It also explores the ways in which litigants who speak another language than English meet them or not. In particular, the chapter outlines how hearings are affected by differences in the styles and attitudes of individual arbitrators, drawing on research on the discourse styles and legal ideologies of judges and on interaction between legal professionals and laypersons more generally, especially with regard to the role of courtroom questioning in eliciting testimony and to Conley & O’Barr’s (1990) rules versus relationship model.

Keywords:   small claims court, arbitration, courtroom questioning, narrative, rules versus relationship

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