'Psy’ expert evidence in the family courts: The potential for corpus-assisted analysis


This article introduces corpus-assisted linguistic methods as an exploratory means of analysing expert psychologists’ reports used in public family law (child protection) cases. Analysis of this dataset is a new application for corpus linguistics (CL) and the primary purpose of this article is to explore viability and potential for its future research using CL as a core method. For this study we have created and analysed a 25 single-text-type specialised written corpus consisting of 25 expert psychologists’ reports (the Psychology Report Corpus “PRC-25”). The reports are a random sample selected from a population of all psychologists’ reports held in Cafcass files over a 10-year period, representing the first corpus of its kind in a currently under-researched area. Our study uses both an inductive (data-driven) approach to identify significant themes and topics in the reports, and a deductive (legal-intuitive) approach to explore psychologists’ use of legally significant terms, especially risk of and significant harm. We also explore the possibility for using this new methodological protocol to triangulate analysis of a larger and representative corpus of expert psychologists’ reports, and the possibilities for corpus-driven analysis of the genre of written expert evidence text types more generally.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.21747/21833745/lanlaw/9_1a5
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Law School
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics
Additional Information: Copyright (c) 2022 Lauren Devine, et al. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/]. Funding: This work was funded by the Nuffield Foundation under grant number JUS/43090 for the project Theorising the Care Cases Crisis, and Mind your Language funded by Research England under an Expanding Excellence in England (E3) Award.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Expert evidence,psychologists' reports,family justice system,corpus linguistics,child protection
Publication ISSN: 2183-3745
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://ojs.let ... icle/view/12828 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-11-23
Published Online Date: 2022-11-22
Accepted Date: 2022-06-06
Authors: Devine, Lauren
Parker, Stephen
Harrington, Leigh (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-4321-9902)
Makouar, Nadia (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-7288-6184)


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