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Predictable miscommunication: improving legal communication with people who speak English as an additional language.

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Event description

PLEASE NOTE: This masterclass is open to CLCQ members ONLY.

This masterclass will be held at a Brisbane CBD location and the exact start and finish times are still to be confirmed. 

Linguistic research shows that people process information in a second language differently to the way people process information in a first language. A person’s first language influences the way they understand and speak a second language. 

This session will illustrate the process of ‘first language interference’, and provide practical strategies for rephrasing legal communication to better suit the needs of people who speak English as an additional language.

About the presenter: 

Ben Grimes is a lawyer and linguist who specialises in communication issues in the legal system and cross-cultural legal education.

Ben’s previous experience includes practicing as a criminal lawyer with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, managing 50 full time staff and 350 casual interpreters with the NT Aboriginal Interpreter Service and linguistic work in Eastern Indonesia. As a lecturer in law at CDU, Ben spearheaded the Indigenous pre-law program, which has led to a noticeable increase in Indigenous law students in the NT.

Ben is currently the CEO of the Aboriginal Resource and Development Services Aboriginal Corporation (ARDS), which specialises in linguistically informed community education and development.

Ben is also a Tribunal member for NTCAT and continues to lecture in criminal law. Some of Ben’s publishing contributions include Criminal Laws NT (3rd ed), the NT Law Society Indigenous Protocols for Lawyers (2nd ed), The Plain English Dictionary (NT Criminal Law), NT Law Reform Committee Report into Recognition of Customary Law and the NT Supreme Court Interpreter Protocols.

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