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Inaugural Lecture: Professor Alan Durant

Event information

START DATE 14 January 2015
START TIME 04:30pm

Second Floor Mezzanine and Room C219-20, College Building, Middlesex University, Hendon, London

END DATE 14 January 2015
END TIME 07:30pm

Professor of Communication Alan Durant delivers his inaugural lecture.

Lawyers, judges and scholars have often emphasised how far law is formulated in and conducted by means of language: acts of 'professing' that combine distinctive styles of performance with specialised approaches to verbal analysis and interpretation. It may even be argued that the 'rule of law' depends substantially on applying procedures of verbal reasoning in a manner that prevents law's close relationship with coercive force and with politics reducing it to either. There are various ways in which law is embedded in language, however, which developed in different ways and serve different functions. 

In Professor Durant's lecture, he will outline and illustrate key aspects, ranging from the changing textures of 'legal language', through developments in statutory interpretation and issues of access to justice associated with language in the courtroom, to how judgments in media and intellectual property law construct the presumed understanding of a reasonable ordinary reader or average consumer. 

In discussing such areas, he will highlight both the theoretical interest and practical challenges of questions that arise. The lecture will be interdisciplinary in linking legal topics with problems in communication. It will be 'inaugural' in suggesting that research and teaching which elucidate language complement other legal approaches, enhancing legal education and contributing to wider public understanding of law.

Biography - Alan Durant 

Alan Durant is Professor of Communication in the School of Law, having transferred from the Business School in 2012. He was formerly Head of the School of English, Cultural and Communication Studies, also at Middlesex, and earlier Professor and Head of the Department of English at Goldsmiths' College. 

Alan's research applies his background in linguistics to topics in media law, intellectual property law (especially copyright and trademarks), and aspects of legal method. He has published nine books, collectively selling around 80,000 copies and including Meaning in the Media: Discourse, Controversy and Debate (CUP, 2010) and the textbook Language and Media, co-written with Marina Lambrou (Routledge, 2009). Another Routledge textbook, Language and Law, is forthcoming, co-written with Janny Leung, as well as an edited collection of essays from CUP. 

Alan has lectured for the British Council and other organisations in more than 25 countries around the world, produced two television documentaries for Channel 4, and is co-ordinator of the Keywords Project, an interdisciplinary research project investigating socially problematic 'keywords', funded by Jesus College, Cambridge, and the University of Pittsburgh, published cumulatively at


16:30 – 17:00 Reception drinks, Second Floor Mezzanine, College Building

17:00 – 18:00 Lecture, Room C219-20, College Building

18:00 – 19:30 Buffet and drinks, Second Floor Mezzanine, College Building

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