Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 2

Law is a profession of words

I. Introduction

As a prominent law professor, David Mellinkoff says, “Law is a profession of words”. This paper tells
what is the language of the law is and how language works in practice. The paper also gives an emphasis
to the importance of language of the law as well as the consequences that may arise.

II. Language of the Law

In David Mellinkoff’s book, The Language of the Law, Mellinkoff covers the historical development of the
language of law beginning with the roots of the law language from latin and french words and
continuing to the present period where expressions or law jargons are developed. This great concept
was confirmed even before Mellinkoff’s book was published. Judge Cardozo, a well know lawyer and
jurist held in one of his writing that “It is to speak the language of general principles, which, once
declared, will be developed and expanded as analogy and custom and utility, and justice, when weighed
by judges in the balance, may prescribe the mode of application and the limits of extension”. I strongly
agree with the idea that language is creative and continues to develop. English as the universal
language, is the language of statues, public documents, legal newspapers, legal notices and meetings.
But it does not bar the protection of the rights of individuals. As an example, when a person was
arrested, he has the right to be informed of his right as an accused. The accused has the right to be
informed of the nature and cause of allegations against him. Such information should be read to the
accused in the language he best understands otherwise his right is violated.

II. Importance of Language in Law

In the legal profession, language is very important. One of the best weapon of a lawyer is his knowledge
of his language. Further, as Mellinkoff have stated in his book, “the speech of lawyers is conditioned not
alone by the law, but also by the prevailing language of their environment.” Drafting, making and
presenting pleadings are part of the day to day activities of the lawyer. Knowledge and correct use of
language are important in legal practice. The lawyers defend their client through correct pleadings and
lawyers’ knowledge of law and language. If a lawyer fails to use the correct word or appropriate terms in
his pleadings, it may harm the case of his client. Hence, knowing the language and using the language
correctly plays a great role in lawyer’s practice. Effects of language to a lawyer extend not only to his
legal practice of law but also to his private capacity. Pursuant to Rule 7.03 of the Code of professional
responsibility, a lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to law, nor shall
he whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal
profession. Plagiarism is a scandalous manner. A lawyer is the officer of the court. It means that any
actions of a lawyer affects the court as well as the state as branch of the government. Plagiarism is a
term not defined by statute but has a popular or common definition. According to Black’s Law
Dictionary, Plagiarism is the “deliberate and knowing presentation of another person’s original ideas or
creative expressions as one’s own.” In my view, a judicial flip-flopping may be considered as one of the
scandalous manner. Flip-flop is defined as an abrupt reversal of policy, stand or position. It was held in
league of cities that the reversals displayed by the court raises the question concerning the objectivity
and consistency of the Court when arriving to judicial decisions. If justices purely decide on the merits of
the case in relation to the objective provisions in the constitution, then indeed a reversal of a decision
should not happen. Lastly, as a consequence, problems with jurisprudence may occur should there be
questions in the meaning of words used in law or definitions of legal concepts and of law itself.

III. Conclusion

As a student of the Faculty of Civil Law, I am currently being trained by my professor to become a good
researcher and master of legal language. Professors help me to learn how to present case verbally or in
writing using correct law words, analyze data and formulate valid hypotheses. However, above all, l shall
learn the correct way how to refer any sources I used and thus avoid plagiarism. Law school places
substantial importance on academic honesty either in writing or in oral arguments. Further, lawyers are
also concerned with the integrity of members of their profession. Issue of plagiarism places a substantial
importance on academic honesty. Academic honesty is relevant to the trustworthiness of a lawyer who
is later admitted to the bar. Hence. Issue of plagiarism is relevant to the trustworthiness of a lawyer who
is later admitted to the bar.