Course Title: Language and the Law Forensic Linguistics

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Language and the Law Forensic Linguistics

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


RMIT University Vietnam


840H School of Communication and Design


Viet1 2019,
Viet1 2020,
Viet2 2020

Course Coordinator: Dr. Loc Pham

Course Coordinator Phone: +84 8 36223669

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 2.5.49

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course introduces students to the relationship between language and the law, the linguistic aspects of the criminal justice system, and the application of text analysis to both spoken and written discourses in forensic settings. Students will learn the role language plays in the legal and forensic contexts, and apply cross cultural communicative skills in analysing legal texts in multilingual settings.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the basic concepts and theories of the field of Forensic Linguistics.
  • Demonstrate understanding of suitable questions of credibility of expert evidence in legal contexts and evaluate the credibility of evidence.
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of tools for identifying authorship and voice recognition.
  • Identify and explain conclusions and recommendations based on theoretical knowledge of forensic linguistics.

In this course you will develop the following program learning outcomes:

  • Communicate across cultures and languages using appropriate modes of communication including electronic, written, oral and aural forms to address issues of linguistic diversity in the workplace and life
  • Critically reflect on the role of culture and language in communication and society and apply this knowledge in a range of cross-cultural interactions.
  • Work independently and in diverse teams to solve problems, using effective bilingual communication strategies demonstrating ethical and reflective practice.
  • Identify, evaluate and critically analyse cultural, historical and theoretical practices which contextualise your professional practice and further study of language.
  • Evaluate and apply technology to increase efficiency and precision in language focused working contexts.
  • Critically analyse resources, evidence and personal experience to make ethical, socially and politically aware decisions related to language and intercultural interpretations and applications.

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities will take the form of:

  • tutorials
  • assignments
  • peer presentation and discussions
  • online community involvement

Overview of Learning Resources


Learning resources will consist of recommended references and class notes which may be accessed through "myRMIT" if you are in Melbourne and via "Canvas" if you are based in Vietnam.   The set of references is deliberately broad, including books, journal publications, government reports, industry standards and handbooks, and web-based resources.    

Overview of Assessment


Assessment 1: 3 short (200-300 word) worksheet activities or discussion board posts  Weighting (%): 15 (5% each) This task assesses the following learning outcomes: CLO1, CLO2   Assessment 2: Tutorial presentation and 1000 word summary report Weighting of final grade (%): 35 This task assesses the following learning outcomes: CLO3   Assessment 3: Case Study Evaluation -1500 words Weighting of final grade (%): 50 This task assesses the following learning outcomes: CLO1, CLO2, CLO3, CLO4