A Pragmatic Analysis of Legal Proofs of Criminal Intent

ORCID logoSol Azuelos-Atias | University of Haifa
ISBN 9789027227164 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027292155 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
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A Pragmatic Analysis of Legal Proofs of Criminal Intent is a detailed investigation of proofs of criminal intent in Israeli courtrooms. The book analyses linguistic, pragmatic, interpretative and argumentative strategies used by Israeli lawyers and judges in order to examine the defendant’s intention. There can be no doubt that this subject is worthy of a thorough investigation. A person’s intention is a psychological phenomenon and therefore, unless the defendant chooses to confess his intent, it cannot be proven directly – either by evidence or by witnesses’ testimonies. The defendant’s intention must be inferred usually from the overall circumstances of the case; verbal and situational contexts, cultural and ideological assumptions and implicatures should be taken into account. The linguistic analysis of these inferences presented here is necessarily comprehensive: it requires consideration of a variety of theoretical frameworks including speech act theory, discourse analysis, argumentation theory, polyphony theory and text linguistics.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“I recommend this book to scholars with a major interest in pragmatic aspects of Forensic Linguistics. It provides a scholarly and deep analysis of the semantics of criminal intent, and reaches some unexpected conclusions, particularly concerning the expression of causality. It also reveals how underlying English Common Law concepts have been transferred to an unrelated language, Hebrew, in a remarkably intact form. It more than meets its objective of throwing light on the linguistics of the legal evaluation of criminal intent.”
“In A Pragmatic Analysis of Legal Proofs of Criminal Intent, Sol Azuelos-Atias does an excellent job. From an interdisciplinary pragmatic perspective, which takes account of linguistic and situational contexts as well as cultural and ideological presuppositions and implicatures, she provides illuminating insights into the working of the Israeli legal system, with its typical mixture of features from Common Law, Continental Law and Jewish Law. In my view, her lucid and informative analyses of the linguistic, pragmatic, interpretative and argumentative strategies Israeli prosecutors, defence counsels and judges use in discussions of legal proof of criminal intent are a stimulating invitation to carry out similar pragmatic – and comparative – analyses of the discourse proceedings in other legal systems.”
“One of the chapters of this book deals, among other things, with a pragmatic analysis of a ‘reasonable person’: what would she do and how would she react in the face of certain circumstances, including surprising ones. In the same vein, we could ask how would the ‘reasonable reader’ react to several of the surprising facts this book reveals about the Israeli legal system – especially when these facts clash with what the system itself expects from the ‘reasonable person’? It is the exposition of this and similar clashes, where basic presumptions of the law, of its practitioners, and of common sense are shown to be in open conflict, that renders this book a must, not only for Israelis. For it forces the reasonable reader to wonder whether legal systems, judges, investigators, prosecutors and attorneys use a language that really is shared by the reasonable speaker. This is an unusually informative, thought provoking, and also at times moving book.”
“This book is a very valuable contribution to scholars who deal with the intersection of linguistics and law. Although its setting is the Israeli courtroom, the author’s analyses and findings can be generalized easily to other legal contexts and systems. Azuelos-Atias gives a detailed linguistic analysis of the ways Israeli lawyers and judges use pragmatic, grammatical, interpretive, and legal argument strategies in courtroom discourse. In doing so, the book joins other recent studies of language of judges and lawyers, providing evidence of the growing importance of linguistics to this field.”
Cited by

Cited by 6 other publications

Azuelos-Atias, Sol
Ellison, Lyn & Natalia Szablewska
2022. Constructing Women Perpetrators of International Crimes: A Critical Discourse Analysis. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique 35:4  pp. 1491 ff. DOI logo
Nissan, Ephraim
2012. Computer Assistance for, or Insights into, Organisational Aspects. In Computer Applications for Handling Legal Evidence, Police Investigation and Case Argumentation [Law, Governance and Technology Series, 5],  pp. 207 ff. DOI logo
Nissan, Ephraim, Carmelo Asaro, Aldo Franco Dragoni, Dany Yamen Farook & Solomon Eyal Shimony
2014. A Quarter of Century in Artificial Intelligence and Law: Projects, Personal Trajectories, a Subjective Perspective. In Language, Culture, Computation. Computing of the Humanities, Law, and Narratives [Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 8002],  pp. 452 ff. DOI logo
Oleksy, Wiesław
2019. Performativity Revisited: J. L. Austin and His Legacy. In Memory, Identity and Cognition: Explorations in Culture and Communication [Second Language Learning and Teaching, ],  pp. 115 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2008. Three Responses to ‘Can There Be Genocide Without the Intent to Commit Genocide?’. Journal of Genocide Research 10:1  pp. 111 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 17 june 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Communication Studies

Communication Studies

Main BIC Subject

CFG: Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2007018828 | Marc record