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The Effect Of Narrativisation On The Comprehension Of Jury Instructions

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Sally Nelson - University of Cardiff

Sally Nelson - University of Cardiff


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  • 1. The Effect of Narrativisation on the Comprehension of Jury Instructions Sally Nelson Forensic Linguistics, CLCR, Cardiff University
  • 2. Narrativisation of judicial directions
    • ‘ Narrativisation’ Hypothesis (Heffer, 2005):
    • Juror comprehension improves when judges’ deliver instructions in a ‘narrative’ style which accommodates the reasoning strategies typically used by lay people, compared to a decontextualised ‘legal’ style used by the legally trained.
    US Standardised ‘Pattern’ instructions read verbatim England and Wales Judge’s sum up each case, reviewing the evidence. Vs.
  • 3. Design
    • Three summings-up were drafted, each systematically varying by degree of narrativisation:
    1 Only the legal directions from the Specimen Directions 2 Integrating specific evidence from the case into the Specimen Directions 3 Integrating specific evidence and using narrativising features e.g. vocatives and discourse markers
  • 4.
    • Comprehension assessed by multiple-choice, paraphrase and novel- scenario tests:
  • 5. Mock jurors watched a simulated rape trial prior to receiving one of the three summings-up. Procedure
  • 6. Preliminary findings
  • 7.  
  • 8.  
  • 9.
    • Thanks!
    • [email_address]