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Forensic Linguistics: Language in the Judical Process, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Rättslingvistik: Språkliga aspekter på rättsprocessen

This syllabus is valid: 2020-07-20 and until further notice

Course code: 1LI081

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Linguistics: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
Cognitive Science: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Language Studies

Established by: Faculty director of studies, Faculty of arts, 2020-02-18


Language is a key instrument in different parts of the legal process, in legislation, criminal investigations and court proceedings. Linguistic products, in speech or writing, can also serve as evidence in judicial processes. The course gives an overview of the field of forensic linguistics and of current research, plus an individual specialisation. The course consists of three modules:
  1. Fundamentals of forensic linguistics, 2 ECTS
  2. Current issues in forensic linguistics, 2 ECTS
  3. Individual specialisation paper in forensic linguistics 3.5 ECTS

Expected learning outcomes

For a 'Pass' grade, the student shall demonstrate:
Knowledge and understanding
  • ability to describe the how linguistic methods can be applied to the judicial process;
  • overview of current research issues in forensic linguistics;
  • in-depth knowledge of an area of forensic linguistics;  
Competence and skills
  • ability to apply linguistic concepts in analyzing legal discourses;  
  • ability to communicate and discuss research questions and results in forensic linguistics in writing;  
Judgment and approach
  • ability to critically evaluate forensic linguistic research from a methodological perspective;  
  • awareness of ethical aspects on forensic research. 

Required Knowledge

90 ECTS in a subject within Language Sciences, Social Sciences or Behavioural Sciences, including 15 ECTS with academic progression (corresponding to level 61-90 hp in the Swedish academic system). Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English B/6.

Form of instruction

The course is online and all instruction is on the course platform. Students will need a computer with internet access to follow this course. See "Technical Requirements for Online Courses" at

Examination modes

Module 1 is assessed through a written observation. The student will be required to attend a court hearing.
Module 2 is assessed through a written assignment and peer review of other students' assignments.  
Module 3 is assessed through an individual written essay.

Grades awarded for this course will be 'Pass with distinction' (Väl godkänd), 'Pass' (Godkänd), or 'Fail' (Underkänd). Grades awarded for Module 1 and 2 will be 'Pass' or 'Fail'. Grades awarded for Module 3 will be 'Pass with distinction', 'Pass' or 'Fail'.  
Students awarded a 'Pass with distinction' grade for Module 3 will be awarded this grade for the whole course.  

Examination format may be adapted for students granted special educational services due to a disability. Such adaptations must conform to the expected learning outcomes. The course coordinator shall make a decision concerning adapted examination format upon application by the student, after consulting the course examiner. The decision shall be forwarded to the student.  

Students who fail an exam on the first occasion will be able to sit the exam again at a later date. Students who have received a pass grade cannot resit for a higher grade.

The first resit shall be scheduled no later than 2 months after the original exam, and no sooner than 10 workdays after the result of the original exam has been published. For exams during May or June, the first resit shall be scheduled no later than 3 months after the original exam. The date for the resit shall be published no later than on the day of the original exam. At least one additional resit shall be scheduled within a year after the original exam.

The examiner may decide that a student who does not reach a Pass grade on a written assignment can do a revision for a Pass grade, as an alternative to a full resit. Such a revision must be made within 10 days of the result being published.

A student who has failed to reach a Pass grade after two attempts has the right to having another examiner appointed for the following resit, unless overriding reasons apply. Requests for another examiner shall be directed to the Faculty Programme Director at the Dean's Office, Faculty of Arts.

Other regulations

If the syllabus is revised or the course cancelled, the student is guaranteed at least 3 sits (including the original exam) according to the earlier syllabus during a period of at most 2 years from the revision or the cancellation.


Valid from: 2020 week 17

Forensic linguistics
Olsson John, Luchjenbroers June
3. rev. ed. : London : Bloomsbury : 2014 : xviii, 348 pages :
ISBN: 9781441186607
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Language and law : a resource book for students
Durant Alan, Leung Janny
Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge : 2016. : xvi, 241 pages :
ISBN: 9781138025578
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

An Introduction to Forensic Linguistics : language in evidence
Coulthard Malcolm, Johnson Alison, Wright David
Second edition. : Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge : [2016] : 253 pages :
ISBN: 9781138641709
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

The Routledge handbook of forensic linguistics
Coulthard Malcolm, Johnson Alison
1st ed. : New York, N.Y. : Routledge : 2010 : xxvii, 673 s. :
ISBN: 9780415463096
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Cotterill Janet
Language in the Legal Process
ISBN 978403933881 : 2002 :