• Olena Zhyhadlo
Keywords: legal discourse, courtroom discourse, Cooperative Principle, conversational maxims, speech behavior


The article focuses on pragmatic features of dialogic interaction of lawyers and witnesses during direct and cross-examination. The lawyer-witness interaction is analysed within the framework of English courtroom discourse, which is a type of institutional discourse. The author summarizes the distinctive features of courtroom discourse, which include emotivity, persuasiveness, competitiveness and asymmetry in terms of power distribution. As a consequence, the speech behavior of professional and lay participants of courtroom talk is predetermined by their function and status at the trial.
Gricean Cooperative Principle has been applied to the study of lawyer-witness interaction in English courtroom discourse. The author has used the methods of discourse analysis and conversational analysis to research the communicative strategies of the participants of examination.
The results show that even though both counsels and witnesses are expected to cooperate in the courtroom, they may flout different conversational maxims. During direct examination, lawyers and witnesses generally comply with the Maxims of Quality and Relevance, while flouting the Maxims of Quantity and Manner. Being cross-examined, witnesses tend to violate the Maxims of Quality, Quantity and Relevance. Lawyers, however, usually comply with the Maxims of Quantity and Relevance, although they appear to flout the Maxim of Quality. The study suggests that complying with or violating a certain conversational maxim, interlocutors pursue certain goals, which are predetermined by the pragmatic situation of examination.

How to Cite
Zhyhadlo, O. (2020). PRAGMATIC FEATURES OF LAWYER-WITNESS INTERACTION IN ENGLISH COURTROOM DISCOURSE. Scientific Notes of Ostroh Academy National University: Philology Series, (8(76), 7-10. Retrieved from