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Interpersonality in Legal Genres


Ruth Breeze, Maurizio Gotti and Carmen Sancho Guinda

Few concepts in Discourse Studies are so versatile and intricate and have been so frequently contested as interpersonality. This construct offers ample terrain for new research, since it can be viewed using a range of diverse theoretical frameworks, employing a variety of analytical tools and social perspectives.
Studies on the relationship between writer/reader and speaker/audience in the legal field are still scarce, dispersed, and limited to a narrow range of genres and a restricted notion of interpersonality, since they are most often confined to modality and the Gricean cooperative principles.
This volume is meant to help bridge this gap. Its chapters show the realisation and distribution of interpersonal features in specific legal genres. The aim is to achieve an expansion of the concept of interpersonality, which besides modality, Grice’s maxims and other traditionally interpersonal features, might comprise or relate to ideational and textual issues like narrative disclosure, typography, rhetorical variation, or Plain English, among others.
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Interpersonality in Legislative Drafting Guides and Manuals: the Case of the Scottish Government Publication Plain Language and Legislation


My aim in this chapter is to analyse how “the interpersonal component of texts (i.e. the ways in which the writers project themselves and their audience in the discourse)” (Lorés-Sanz/Mur-Dueñas/Lafuente-Millán (2010c: 1) plays a role in the way legislative drafting guides and manuals are written. Within the realm of legal discourse, legislative drafting guides and manuals constitute a subgenre of their own. For the purposes of this chapter I distinguish between legislative drafting manuals, which tend to be exhaustive in covering a wide range of technical points in considerable detail, and legislative drafting guides which tend to be shorter in length and are not usually meant to be as exhaustive in scope. Referring to legislative drafting manuals, Cormacain (2013: 205) affirms that:

There is no common definition of legislative drafting manuals to which all jurisdictions conform. At a very general level, the most that can be said is that a legislative drafting manual is a manual on how to draft legislation. Beyond this broad statement, jurisdictions go their own ways. Manuals are generally prepared by the centralised drafting unit or by those with responsibility for the quality of legislation within a jurisdiction. The manual can be a single document or it can be spread across multiple documents dealing with different aspects of the legislative process.

Manuals tend to be ‘jurisdiction specific’ (Cormacain 2013: 206), are principally written for fellow drafters, and will largely be of little interest to non-experts, whereas guides...

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