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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 Mediation Discourse


In the last few decades Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has become more and more common as an alternative to litigation for settling disputes without resorting to ordinary justice. Many factors have inspired the origin and spread of these alternative procedures, basically relying on the desire to provide a new tool to defend the rights of all those subjects that, mainly for economic reasons, could not afford long and expensive court proceedings. In certain countries, the fundamental reason was substantially the crisis of ordinary justice that was not able to provide effective and timely solutions to disputes. In general, the slow and time-consuming development of court cases and the elevated costs of traditional justice have led disputants to rely on alternative systems deemed to be more economical, faster and more efficient.

Mediation – together with arbitration and conciliation – is a typical example of ADR. This process has proved to be very successful and is now employed in many countries, where it has become an integral part of the judicial system (cf. Berger 2006). Indeed, as it implies a negotiated agreement between the parties, mediation has become a very attractive ADR option. In this procedure agreement is reached by the parties through the work of a neutral party, the mediator, who helps them analyze the true interests involved in the dispute. He/she also identifies the differences implied in the parties’ respective positions, leading them towards a resolution of the dispute without imposing any decision.

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