Legal English, being among the most complex and multifaceted areas of English for Specific Purposes (ESP), has duly received considerable attention on the part of linguists, discourse and learner needs′ analysts, sociolinguists and ESP researchers (Cheng and Cheng, 2014; Hafner, 2013; Hartig and Lu, 2014; Huhta et al, 2013; Shuy 2001). Most research has been carried out to investigate lexical, syntactic, grammatical and other communicative competences of law students in various cycles of higher education. An area that is still highly in need of examination is the development of communicative competences of Legal English among law practitioners who might have had a course of Legal English in their law studies and face with an urge of revision or might have not been introduced to Legal English whatsoever. In light of these observations, the present study examines the needs and problems regarding the use of general and legal English faced by 34 law practitioners, namely lawyers and judges working at two law companies and a district court in Kaunas, Lithuania. The study assumes qualitative methodology including a semi-structured interview and a questionnaire. The results have revealed that communicative competence of legal practitioners gained during their formal education does not meet the demands of their legal practice. While skills of general English appear not to cause many problems, skills of legal English are not developed to an adequate level. Therefore, as the study shows, it is absolutely inevitable to develop and offer in-service education of Legal English carefully attuned to the diverse levels of competences and needs of legal practitioners.
Michalina Krzyżak, Katarzyna Piotrowska, Dominik Maślach, Paweł Sowa, Bartosz Pędziński, Paweł Macek and Jan Karczewski
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Ustawa z dnia 29 sierpnia 2003 r. o urzędowych