Karen McAuliffe – Multilingual Law

Can the law be the same if the language is different? I invited Karen McAuliffe, an expert in multilingual law, to shed some light on this question. Different languages represent reality in different ways. This has an impact on the legal system, too. So how can law be created that will have the same effect across multiple jurisdictions? Especially in the context of the European Court of Justice this is a critical question. Language and storytelling play an important role for law – from the pricing of football jerseys to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Karen McAuliffe is Professor of Law and Language at the University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on the relationship between law, language and translation in multilingual legal orders, particularly the European Union. She has run a number of large, funded, research projects in the field of law and language, including the Law and Language at the European Court of Justice project and The EU Case Law Corpus project. You can find out more about Karen’s research on her website: www.karenmcauliffe.com

Here are some links to the things mentioned in this episode:

Jessica Whyte (2014) The Fortunes of Natural Man: Robinson Crusoe, Political Economy, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Humanity Vol 5(3), p. 301-321

Karen McAuliffe (2013), The Limitations of a Multilingual Legal System, International Journal for the Semiotics of Law Vol 26(4)

Legal Recognition of Sign Languages Project

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