Taking Language and Law Seriously

Conference Announcement and Call for Papers

The International Language and Law Association (ILLA) will hold its fourth general meeting and Conference from September 11-14, 2019, at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Law School.

The fourth general conference of the ILLA aims to extend and deepen the society’s philosophical and theoretical orientation towards the intersection of the two fields of knowledge. Under the theme Taking Language and Law Seriously, it will examine Language and Law’s early history, recent developments, and some of its practical and political significance. The ILLA is an assemblage of international scholars from throughout the world.

The first event of the Conference will be a focus workshop on Forensic Linguistics, organized by, amongst others, Prof. Dr. Victoria Guillén and Prof. Dieter Stein, taking place all day Wednesday, September 11, and Thursday morning, September 12. The Conference fee covers admission to the focus workshop for those who wish to participate in it.

The opening of the general Conference will take place late Thursday afternoon with a plenary session examining the historic and ongoing influence of the late Professor David Mellinkoff’s The Language of the Law (1963), the first textbook for courses on the linguistic basis of law. This will be followed by an evening welcoming reception. 

The rest of the plenary sessions and a series of workshops will take place over the next two days (Friday and Saturday, September 13-14).

Primary conference language: English.

Further information at:

Call for Papers

This fourth international ILLA Conference is designed to host high-quality presentations of original research. We have reserved spaces for an additional paper on several set panels and encourage anyone working on one of the following areas to submit an abstract to be considered for inclusion on the panel:

Language access to social and cultural prejudice in legal discourse

The language of discrimination, harassment and violence

Language, law and philosophy

Theoretical issues arising in particular in translation in and from Asian languages

La Loi et la langue dans le monde frankophone

The linguistics of spoken legal discourse

Language rights: speakingout and getting done in

The Linguistics and legalistics of “fake news”: asserting and lying in mainstream media and in the new media (twitter, Facebook).

In addition to these panels, the conference invites papers on other aspects of legal linguistics, including (but certainly not limited to) such topics as:

  • Semiotics, semantics and pragmatics of law
  • Legislation and linguistics of norm genesis
  • Multilingualism and law
  • Philosophical perspectives on language and law
  • Language and law in a diachronic and/or culturally comparative perspective
  • Law in the context of computer-mediated communication
  • Educational aspects of legal linguistics
  • Language theories in law and linguistic theories of law
  • Discourse and power in the courtroom
  • Forensic Linguistics
  • Qualitative and computer-assisted quantitative methods in legal linguistics

All contributors are requested to submit an extended abstract with 800–1000 words with title, theoretical background, research questions, methodological approach and main hypotheses.

We also invite posters and panel proposals on any relevant topic. For panel proposals, please explain the topic (1000–1500 words), panel format, especially if unconventional (100 words), and the titles as well as the abstracts (each about 500-800 words) of the planned talks with names, affiliations and contact e-mail addresses. For posters, please submit abstracts with 350–400 words including title, theoretical background, research questions, methodological approach and main hypotheses.

We will employ a process of blind peer review but it will be an expedited process. For abstracts and proposals received before the end of the year, we expect to send acceptance letters out January 15, 2019. Although we will continue to review abstracts and proposals received up through March, 2019, we strongly recommend getting them in by January 31, 2019. The sooner we receive your proposal the sooner we will review it and respond and the longer you will have to obtain funding, apply for visas, etc.

Please submit your abstract (PDF) in time to

Overall Schedule

January 2019:             First draft of the conference program and registration form online

April 2019:                 Second draft of the conference program online

July 2019:                   Final draft of the conference program online

September 2019:        Conference


Organizer/Host and Contact

Prof. Frances Olsen

University of California at Los Angeles




Information on ILLA

The International Language and Law Association (ILLA), founded in 2007, is a network of linguists and lawyers working on the language matrix of law. Language is seen not simply as a subject in the legal context or an object of forensic analysis, but as the central medium of modern constitutional states, the mediator of social conflicts, and the core of legal methodology. This conference follows in a series from Düsseldorf, Germany (2006), to Vancouver, Canada (2014), and Freiburg, Germany (2017). The ILLA has also organized smaller, Focus conferences in Freiburg in 2017 (a Forensic Linguistics workshop ahead of the general Freiburg conference similar to the schedule in LA-2019), and in 2018 we had a stand-alone focus conference in Copenhagen in 2018 (on Computers, Language, and Law).  


Prof. Dr. Frances Olsen (UCLA, USA) (lawyer)

Prof. Dr. Friedemann Vogel (Siegen, Germany) (linguist)

Steering committee:

Prof. Dr. Anne-Lise Kjær (Copenhagen, Denmark),

Prof. Dr. Ralf Poscher (Freiburg, Germany),

Prof. Dr. Lawrence Solan (New York, USA)

Prof. Dr. Dieter Stein (Düsseldorf, Germany)