Forum on Language and the Law
The Forum on Language and the Law is an annual symposium hosted by the Department of Linguistics at the University of Utah, with support from the S.J. Quinney College of Law, the College of Humanities, and the Tanner Humanities Center.
The theme for the 2021 Forum on Language and the Law is legal interpretation, and this includes an emphasis on corpus linguistic methods for determining original and ordinary meaning in statutes, contracts, trademark agreements, the Constitution, and other important documents. The speakers at the 2021 Forum include two linguists, a law professor, and a Utah Supreme Court Justice. The first linguist, Jesse Egbert (Northern Arizona University), will offer insights into best practices in corpus-based linguistic research dealing with questions of original and ordinary meaning. The law professor, Lawrence Solum (Georgetown University), will discuss original and ordinary meaning from a legal perspective, focusing particularly on constitutional law. The second linguist, Tammy Gales (Hofstra University), will highlight linguistic principles and methods while emphasizing her work on statutory interpretation in trademark cases. Finally, Associate Chief Justice Tom Lee (Utah Supreme Court) will discuss the empirical methods he has used and advocated for when dealing with questions of legal interpretation.
The information and methods presented in this symposium will help lawyers, linguists, and judges improve their abilities to analyze and evaluate linguistic evidence related to legal interpretation in multiple domains of civil and criminal law.