Building on the work done in English Linguistic and Argumentation Skills I (ELAS I), English Linguistic and Argumentation Skills II (ELAS II) is aimed at improving the general academic writing skills of course participants while at the same time acquainting them with the specifics of a number of specialized forms of writing unique to the legal profession and legal scholarship. Students are also provided some instruction on advanced techniques in public speaking, deliberation and negotiation.
At the end of the course, students will be able to:
- Critically evaluate and effectively incorporate a complex body of written source material of various types, applying the style and reference standards as set by the Chicago Manual of Style / Harvard Bluebook of Legal Reference / OSCOLA Guide to Legal Reference. This includes the ability to work efficiently with and with a depth of understanding with materials from leading journals.
- Write an extended, critical argumentative paper, but also be able to produce short position papers that provide focused and critical analysis and overview of key legal issues.
- Apply to an advanced degree appropriate features of academic and professional writing including but not limited to:
- Register and style
- Advanced grammatical constructions
- Paper, paragraph and sentence structure
- Argumentation and argumentative devices
- Coherence strategies and linking devices
- Be able to formulate arguments and counter-arguments directed towards specific outcomes.
- Compose and deliver an oral legal briefing that meets the professional standards of the form, while remaining mindful of the need for:
- Lively and engaging delivery
- Attention to audience benefit
- Effective application of visual aids
- An awareness of the effect of non-verbal language
- A solid structural foundation
As legal composition puts a premium on the ability to argue points of legal logic convincingly, a good deal of attention is given in this course to developing skills in both legal argumentation and explanation as well as rhetorical mechanisms and the capacity to use them effectively. In addition, there is a focus on the structures and compositional features of a number of types of texts specific to the legal profession in order to improve the students’ ability to analyze and interpret these texts, as well as integrate them into their own academic and professional writing.
With respect to presentation, the central focus is on improving on the work done in the first year course in English Linguistic and Argumentation Skills (ELAS I): in particular, the specifics of the argumentative briefing are given a good amount of attention.
This course is taught in conjunction with the course Public International Law (PIL). Many of the assignments sets for ELAS II are also required assignments or exam elements for the PIL course.
Learning a language takes time. Apart from attendance and exam preparation, you need to dedicate a considerable amount of time towards independent study. Although the exact number of hours needed to improve your language skills will depend on your current proficiency, age, learning habits and other factors, a significant time investment is needed to successfully complete this course.
Type of Instruction
Seminars (12 x 2 hours of class instruction)
Type of Exams
- A final argumentative paper (2000 words) on a topic derived from the coursework done for Public International Law
- A portfolio of assignments based on the work being done for the course Public International Law.
- A 15-minute presentation on a briefing topic to be determined in the course Public International Law
All of the required reading material for this course is provided by the course instructors or made available online on the Canvas course site for ELAS II.
Schauer, Frederick. (2009). Thinking Like a Lawyer: A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning. Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Ingles, Mia. (2010). Legal English Communication Skills. Leuven: Acco