Expert-lay interaction in jury trials (case study of closing arguments)

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This study arises out of the intention to examine the features of expert-lay interaction in a jury trial. The paper studies closing arguments constructed by legal experts as possible worlds which would be attractive for jurors. Theory of possible worlds is employed to present discourse practices as versions of the real world which may overlap, supplement or contradict one another. Legal experts construe and present possible worlds to jury members who deliver verdicts on the case, i.e. possess decisional power. Efficient involvement of jurors into the possible world constructed by the legal expert signals formation of discourse of concord. In order to make their own possible world more credible than the world of the procedural opponents, legal experts employ different interaction tools: description of legal concepts, empathy, appeals to social values, imperative and question utterances, personalization.

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