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 Intercultural Communication in the Law 1

DIANA EADES

Introduction

Culture can be conceptualized as the ways of thinking, believing and acting which are shared within a social group, and passed on from generation to generation. Most of the (Anglophone) research on intercultural communication in the law examines communication between members of dominant English-speaking Anglo sociocultural groups and members of minority ethnic groups. The chapter starts by considering second-language speakers, including speakers of creole languages and deaf users of sign languages. It then moves to research on second-dialect speakers, and people whose language variety is very similar to the dominant language, but whose membership of a minority sociocultural group impacts on their communication in the legal process. This leads to a discussion of the relationship between power and culture in intercultural communication in the legal process. The culture of the legal profession is distinctive in many ways, so that many people without legal training and socialization can feel confused, misunderstood or ignored when they have dealings in legal contexts. The last section of this chapter investigates intercultural communication in the legal process between legal professionals and others.

As this chapter will draw on anglophone research, its focus is on the common law adversarial system found in England and its former colonies, including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Research ...

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