The Journey to Comprehensibility:Court Forms as the First Barrier to Accessing Justice

Abstract

The article explores the comprehensibility of court forms by providing a quantitative overview and a qualitative analysis of such syntactic characteristics as length and structure of sentences and noun phrases. The analysis is viewed in the broader context of genre characteristics of court forms, their role within legal proceedings, and their function for eliciting narratives from court users. The findings show that while the elicitation strategies are not always coherently aligned with the guidance sections, the guidance itself condenses legal and procedural information into overly complex and verbose syntactic constructions. Comprehensibility barriers are thus created through breaks in information flow, ambiguous syntactic constructions, missing information and misalignment between questions and guidance. Such comprehension challenges have a negative impact on the potential of court users to effectively engage with legal proceedings.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11196-021-09870-6
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Publication ISSN: 0952-8059
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://link.sp ... 196-021-09870-6 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2021-11-15
Published Online Date: 2021-11-15
Accepted Date: 2021-10-16
Authors: Grieshofer née Tkacukova, Tatiana
Gee, Matt
Morton, Ralph

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