IAFL: The International Association of Forensic Linguists


What is the IAFL?

The International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL) is an organization which primarily consists of linguists whose work involves them in the law. Narrowly defined, this means linguistic evidence in court (authorship attribution, disputed confessions etc.), but in fact the association aims to bring together those working on any aspects of language and the law (see the non-IAFL list on the Birmingham FL Home Page). In addition to linguists, others, particularly members of the legal profession, are also welcome to apply for membership.

Purpose & Aims

The purpose of the Association is to improve the administration of the legal systems throughout the world by means of a better understanding of the interaction between language and the law. More specifically, the Association aims to promote:

box The study of the language of the law, including the language of legal documents and the language of the courts, the police, and prisons;

box The alleviation of language-based inequality and disadvantage in the legal system;

box The interchange of ideas and information between the legal and linguistic communities;

box Research into the practice, improvement, and ethics of expert testimony and the presentation of linguistic evidence, as well as legal interpreting and translation;

box Better public understanding of the interaction between language and the law.

Further Aims

Further aims of the IAFL include:

box furthering the interests of linguists engaged in research on the development and practice of forensic linguistics;

box disseminating knowledge about language analysis, and its forensic applications, among legal and other relevant professionals around the world;

box drawing up a Code of Practice on matters such as giving evidence in court, writing official reports etc;

box collecting a computer corpus of statements, confessions, suicide notes, police language, etc., which could be used in comparative analysis of disputed texts.

© IAFL 2007