Insights on the Assessment of Global Legal English Why a test of English in a legal context benefits the global legal community


Law is language. The ability to use language correctly is the basic skill that all lawyers need to practice their trade. As the language of the international legal community is English, non-native speakers practising law without an excellent command of the language are at a serious disavdvantage. Legal English skills must be taught effectively and assessed according to a set of accepted criteria.


This talk will discuss the Legal English skills that lawyers need and outline exactly why the proper assessment of these skills is important for the advancement of understanding between lawyers on an international playing field.


1.      What are the English skills needed by global legal practitioners?

·        The trap of mistaking substantive-based vocabulary training with skills training

·        Common law vs. Global principles

·        What lawyers think v. what ESP linguists know


2.      What is meant by proper assessment?

·        A communicative view of language is key to promoting global legal practice

·        Does the assessment test what it purports to test?

·        The Criterion – the importance of situational and interactional authenticity in language aptitude tests


3.      How can a test of Legal English improve communication on a global scale?

·        Washback effect in Legal English assessment

·        Using proper target exams increases communicative skills and advances the global practice of law


4.      Conclusion and questions