4th Nov 2015 4:30pm
Westlain 218, Falmer Campus
Talk by Dr Alex Trklja, University of Exeter
In my talk, I will address two issues: linguistic recursion in EU legal texts and the impact of translation on EU case law.
Although it has often been remarked that legal texts are formulaic (e.g. Mattila, 2006; Gotti, 2012), the studies that investigate this issue empirically or focus on functions of repetitive expressions are still few in number (e.g. Gozdz-Roszkowski, 2012; Biel, 2014). The presentation will report on a corpus study of metadiscursive multi-word units (Hyland, 2005) in judgments produced by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). It will be argued that formulaicity is not an accidental feature of CJEU judgments but a constitutive force that has an impact on the form and content of EU case law. It will be shown that linguistic recursion shapes the discourse organization (Hoey, 2001) of CJEU judgments and serves as a source of routinized thinking (Koestler, 1964) in EU case law. It will also be proposed that the production of legal precedent and case-based reasoning is governed by language use through formulaic expressions.
EU case law exists in 24 languages and all language versions of CJEU judgments are regarded as equally authentic. In reality, the internal working language of the CJEU is French and all other ‘authentic’ versions are typically translations of judgments drafted and deliberated on in French. The influence of translation on the law has been largely ignored in previous studies (McAuliffe, 2009). EU translation guidelines and judges at the Court maintain the simplistic view that terms can be neutrally communicated through translation and that there are one-to-one relations between translation equivalents across languages. In this part of the talk, it will be demonstrated using the results of a corpus analysis of CJEU judgments that translation creates linguistic superdiversity (Blommaert and Rampton, 2011) in EU case law and thus increases legal uncertainty (Paunio, 2013).
PAUNIO, E. 2013. Legal Certainty in Multilingual EU Law: Language, Discourse and Reasoning at the European Court of Justice. Surrey: Farnham.