Postdoctoral Fellow: Judith Reynolds

Judith ReynoldsResearch topic: Legal advice-giving communication in intercultural and multilingual contexts: challenges, complexities and strategies for success
Research pathway: Linguistics
Host institution: Cardiff University

Effective communication between lawyer and client is fundamental to the delivery of legal advice.  However, communication can be a great challenge in many key areas of legal practice, including in asylum and refugee law where individuals’ fundamental human rights are at stake.  The doctoral research project on which the Fellowship is based investigated intercultural and multilingual communication in asylum and refugee family reunion legal advice meetings.   Drawing on audio recordings and observations of advice meetings which took place in England between an experienced immigration lawyer and a range of asylum seeker and refugee clients, the research examined the ways in which lawyers and clients who come from different linguistic or cultural backgrounds communicate with each other in order to give and receive crucial legal advice.

From this project, an understanding of the range of strategies that lawyers and clients can use in legal advice communication across languages and cultures, and the role that interpreters can play in this, has emerged.  The goal of this Fellowship is to share the results of the research project, the insights gained from it, and the practical implications, with a diverse range of relevant groups and individuals, including legal advice practitioners, legal educators and interpreter trainers, asylum seeker and refugee communities in the UK, and civil society organisations which support them to access legal advice services.  A range of relevant academic audiences will also be engaged through publications, presentations and academic exchange and networking activities, focused on harnessing the future potential for practice-based impact of the research.