Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating an Online Resource for Professional Legal Communication Skills


  • Christoph A Hafner City University of Hong Kong



Legal language, Professional literacy, Legal writing and drafting, Barrister's Opinion, Corpora and Language Teaching, Data-driven learning, Elearning


The ability to use language effectively is an essential part of legal training and has been identified as an area of concern for Hong Kong law students (Redmond and Roper 2001). In order to become proficient members of the legal discourse community, law students must develop an understanding of conventional writing forms, processes and practices as well as patterns of legal reasoning and problem-solving. Although lawyers in the main agree that competence in legal English is crucial to professional competency, legal professionals also take the view that efforts to enhance such competence should be remedial in nature rather than targeted at the specific communication needs of lawyers (Hong Kong Bar Association 2001). In addition, many practitioners of legal education and training see language skills development as falling outside their area of expertise and responsibility. As a consequence, time and resources allocated to the important task of enhancing English for legal purposes are minimal. In view of these constraints, creating computer-mediated online resources for the development of English language skills becomes a particularly attractive option. Students are able to access material in their own time, work at their own pace, learn ‘just-in-time’ for the real-world tasks that they are working on, and it is the students who are in charge of the learning process. This thesis reports on a collaborative project, involving a small team of legal academics and language professionals, to develop such online resources Awarding Institution: Macquarie University Date of award: April 2009

Author Biography

  • Christoph A Hafner, City University of Hong Kong
    Christoph Hafner is assistant professor in the Department of English, City University of Hong Kong. His research interests include legal language, academic and professional literacy, and educational technology.






Thesis Abstracts

How to Cite

Hafner, C. A. (2010). Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating an Online Resource for Professional Legal Communication Skills. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 16(2), 299-302.