The Forensic Linguistics Society

Aims of the Society

Aims of the Society

To promote an awareness in the criminal justice system and among the wider public of the nature of linguistic, phonetic and acoustic evidence in criminal and civil proceedings, and their use as investigative aids, and to further an awareness of interpreting and translation issues.

To encourage sound empirical and ethical methodologies in the assessment of linguistic and phonetic evidence among practitioners by research, education, publication and discussion.

To establish and maintain a process of continuing education and accreditation of members.

To acknowledge the role of, and provide a forum for, forensic interpreters and translators, and to establish closer links between forensic linguists, phoneticians and forensic interpreters and translators.

To engage in dialogue with legal professionals and law enforcement officers with the aim of increasing mutual professional understanding, in order to better serve the justice system.

Code of Practice

Members agree to:

  • be ethical in all their dealings with clients, other members and representatives of the justice system in whichever jurisdiction they undertake cases
  • maintain efficient records of their handling of cases
  • use statistical and other computational methods judiciously and only as appropriate, and to describe any such usage in plain language for the benefit of courts
  • not undertake cases where the financial reward is dependent on results
  • undertake pro bono cases from time to time
  • treat all materials in the strictest confidence
  • be realistic in their claims regarding what their analyses can achieve
  • be impartial in their analyses and be aware that, regardless of the source of their commission in any particular case, their evidence is solely for the benefit of the Court or other legally constituted forum in which their evidence may be heard
  • keep clients informed of the progress of an inquiry where appropriate
  • keep themselves informed of legal requirements pertaining to forensic evidence, and the rules of evidence in the jurisdiction/s in which they undertake cases
  • state their methods clearly and in plain language for the benefit of courts
  • be aware of the limitations of their expertise
  • work with clients in the justice system with impartiality, fairness and realism
  • treat other members and professionals with courtesy, fairness and in a spirit of learning and encouragement
  • assist other members, especially newer members, wherever practicable
  • be mindful of the need to work continuously towards improving expertise, including such areas as improving and refining working practices and methodologies and the ability to give evidence in court competently and impartially
  • recuse themselves voluntarily from a case in the event of any conflict of interest

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