CLIL Approach to Legal English Courses: Analysis of Practice and Experience

Open access


The EU consistent policy on languages promotes new language teaching methods and encourages pedagogical experiments at all levels of education, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) being one of language education innovations. Over the past twenty years CLIL proved to be an effective method in foreign language acquisition and there is considerable evidence of successful CLIL implementation in secondary schools in many European countries. Speaking about foreign languages in higher education, it is necessary to note that abbreviation EMI – English as a Medium of Instruction – is mentioned much more often than CLIL. One of the reasons for lower CLIL implementation at a tertiary level is the complexity of subject contents taught at universities. Furthermore, if a student’s major is law, the issue becomes more challenging because of the differences in common law and civil law systems. However, one of lawyer’s professional competences directly connected with language learning is a communicative competence. Such spheres of lawyer’s activity as client counseling, negotiation, and mediation rely heavily on listening, paraphrasing, reframing, summarising, and skills of question formation regardless of what legal system a lawyer belongs to. These so-called soft skills can be developed within a foreign language course but it seems more rational to master them through a professional medium. Therefore, law teachers should be engaged in designing a substantive part of course materials, while language teachers are to be in charge of communicative competence development. The present study aims at analyzing the practice and experience in designing and implementing an original optional course “Client Consultation in English”. This course can serve as an illustration of a CLIL Legal English course and its structure can be used as an example to follow while designing similar courses.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Ball P. (2017). How do you know if you're practicing CLIL? Retrieved from

  • Communication from the Commission to the Council the European Parliament the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions (2003). Promoting Language Learning and Linguistic Diversity: An Action Plan 2004–2006. COM(2003) 449 final.

  • Coyle D. (2002). Relevance of CLIL to the European Commission’s Language Learning Objectives. In D. Marsh (Ed.) CLIL/EMILE: The European Dimension; Actions Trends and Foresight Potential (pp.27–28). Finland: UniCOM Continuing Education Centre.

  • Davies S. (2003). Content based instruction in EFL contexts. Retrieved from

  • Denisova N. E. (2016). Проблема использования английского языка как средства преподавания академических предметов (EMI) (на примере внедрения EMI в рамках программы бакалавриата «История искусств») [The Problem of Using English as Medium of Instruction (EMI) (by the Example of Introducing EMI within a Bachelor Programme “History of Art”)]. Modern Society: science technology education: proceedings of All-Russia scientific conference in 4 volumes pp. 61–74.

  • Devel L. A. (2015). Культура и деловой иностранный язык (опыт применения предметно-языкового интегрированного обучения ПЯИО) [Culture and Business Foreign Language (Content and Language Integrated Learning – CLIL)]. Bulletin of Perm National Research Polytechnic University. Issues in Linguistics and Pedagogics 4(14) pp. 64–70.

  • Frost A. (2009) English for legal professionals. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press.

  • Gazzola M. (2016). Research for Cult Committee – European Strategy for Multilingualism: Benefits and Costs. Retrieved from

  • Gromoglasova T. I. (2015). Implementing CLIL into Higher Education Curriculum (on the Example of “Globalisation and International Integration” Course) // “Language Education Today – Vectors of Development” proceedings of VI international scientific conference-forum pp. 24–29.

  • Kelly K. (2015). Collaboration between language teachers and subject teachers. Retrieved from

  • Khizhnyak S.P. (2016). Национальная культура как фактор формирования языковой и концептуальной картин мира (на примере научной картины мира юриспруденции) [National Culture as a Factor of Forming Linguistic and Conceptual Pictures of the World (on the Example of Scientific World Picture in Jurisprudence)]. Izvestiya of Saratov University. New Series. Series: Philology. Journalism. 16(2) 130–134.

  • Krois-Linder A. Firth M. & Trans Legal (2008). Introduction to International Legal English. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.

  • Language Network for Quality Assurance. Final Report. (2010). Retrieved from

  • Marsh D. (2002). CLIL/EMILE: The European dimension; actions trends and foresight potential. Europäische Kommission Generaldirektion Bildung und Kultur University of Jyväskyla.

  • Montalto S. A. Walter L. Theodorou M. & Chrysanthou K. (2014). CLIL guide book. Retrieved from

  • Pluzhnikova J. A. (2015) Опыт реализации концепции предметно-языкового интегрированного обучения (CLIL): курс “Европейское право (на английском языке)”. [Experience of applying the “Content and Language Integrated Learning” (CLIL) approach: course “European law (in English)”]. Bulletin of Law Faculty of Kolomna branch of Moscow Politechnical University 10 159–171.

  • Polenova A. Y. (2016). Английский как язык обучения в университетском экономическом образовании: проблемы и перспективы развития [English as Medium of Instruction in Economic University Education: Problems and Challenges]. Journal of Economic Regulation7(3) 153–162. doi: 10.17835/2078-5429.2016.7.3.153-162.

  • Saville N. & Eugenio E. G. (2016). Research for Cult Committee – European Strategy on Multilingualism – Policy and Implementation at the EU Level. Retrieved from (2016)573456.

  • Wolff D. (2002). On the importance of CLIL in the context of the debate on plurilingual education in the European Union. In. D. Marsh (Ed.) CLIL/EMILE the European Dimension – Action Trends Foresight Potential (pp. 47–49). Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä.

  • Zaripova R. R. (2015). Integrated subject-linguistic approach as the basis of subject teaching modelling using a foreign language at high school. Journal of Language and Literature6(3) 175–180. doi: 10.7813/jll.2015/6-3/40.

Journal information
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 483 209 1
PDF Downloads 452 228 27