8.1 EL-Sakran

| September 2, 2020

Tharwat M. EL-Sakran. (2020). Lawyers’ Perceptions of Forensic Linguistic Evidence in Arab Countries: A Call for Collaboration. International Journal of Law, Language & Discourse 8(1), 60-78.

Abstract: Although forensic linguists (FLs) are being increasingly used in various Western countries, the concept of lawyers in the Arab world hiring a FL has not found its way to the legal system yet. This exploratory study examines Arab lawyers’ awareness of the work of FLs and gauges their perceptions towards the use of forensic linguistic evidence and its admissibility in courts in Arab countries. A survey, comprising 18 questions and designed via the Google Forms website, was used for data collection. Analysis of lawyers’ responses shows that lawyers in Arab countries, albeit their readiness to use medical and other expert witnesses in courts to support their cases, are reluctant to use the services of language specialists, i.e. FLs; for they view this as an indication of a lawyer’s incompetence in native language interpretation and professional weakness. It seems that lawyers, by refusing to seek support from FLs in what they believe to be 100 percent their playground, are reinforcing their peculiar understanding of their professional competence. Nevertheless, the findings of the investigation underscore a significant shift in lawyers’ perceptions of the role of FLs after they have learned of how their counterparts in Western countries utilize the services of FLs and forensic speech analysts in support of their defense in courts. The research concludes with limitations of the study, suggestions for future research and some recommendations for spreading awareness and knowledge of the forensic linguistics field in the Arab world.

Keywords: forensic, evidence, lawyers, admissibility, perceptions, Arab courts


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Category: Volume 8