Back to Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics


The Centre for Language and Law (CLL) is part of the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL) and is a new Centre for Aston University running jointly with Aston Law School.  Professor Lauren Devine is joining Aston as Centre Director, bringing a wealth of experience in leading externally funded projects.

 The CLL’s research focusses on contemporary legal issues and complex societal problems, embracing broad areas such as internet regulation and children’s social care hearings.

The CLL is conducting individual and group projects spanning private and public law, focusing on the analysis of written legal and supplementary texts.  The projects explore aspects of drafting legal and regulatory texts and systems, the interpretation of those texts and systems, the analysis of evidential material when legal and regulatory cases are brought, and analysis of the legal and regulatory decision making.




Professor Lauren Devine

Lauren’s research considers the complex social and economic issues of public law decision-making in social care judgments via analysis of legal, policy and evidential texts.  Lauren’s current projects build on previous work (funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the ESRC) considering the appropriate balance between State power and private rights in welfare systems.   


Doctor Leigh Harrington

Leigh is conducting an analysis of written forms of debt collection communications, including letters and text messages.  She is also analysing the regulations and legislation that govern and informs those practices to ensure that creditors operate legally, transparently and responsibly.

Doctor Nadia Makouar

Nadia is using semantics and corpus linguistics to describe the legal concepts in relation to European internet regulation.  She is contrasting genres and discourses from a collective analysis of relevant written legal texts, identifying terminologisation processes of legal words and expressions. 

Group projects

The CLL’s two group projects are developing linguistic analysis methodologies across selected areas of private and public law.  Our private law work focusses on commercial contracts and the focus of the public law project is child protection and care order pathways.  The projects are developing a discriminatory model to identify legal complex cases via linguistic analysis.  This enables early identification of cases that are likely to be costly, time consuming and stressful.  These projects are therefore scoping the feasibility of an AI model to save cost and time via early triaging and management of the complexity.