Tenor in Judicial Reasoning: Modality in majority and dissenting judgments in the High Court of Australia
Issue: Vol 9 No. 3 (2013)
Journal: Linguistics and the Human Sciences
This paper juxtaposes the modelling of language and context in systemic functional linguistics (SFL) with a modelling of legal relations in jurisprudence (that of W. N. Hohfeld), in order to discuss realizations of tenor in legal discourse in the context of the High Court of Australia. In particular, the paper focuses on choices of modality in the judicial reasoning, that is judgments, of the different judges in a single case. The case of Al-Kateb was chosen because all seven High Court Judges gave judgments and because of the close result: four judges in the majority and three dissenting. While textual analysis suggests potential discursive features of the judgment register, it also suggests differences in the repertoire of individual judges.
Author: Rosemary Huisman, Tony Blackshield
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