This book deals with speech acts, especially performatives, that are regarded as 'operative' in legal discourse. After a detailed exposition of speech act theory in relation to legislative texts, the author discusses the legal document as a communicative act; potential speech acts and delegated legislation; wills, the marriage ceremony and statutes as reversible performatives; and the distinction between the deictic function of this and the anaphoric function of that in legal documents. The final chapter is concerned with another text type, case reports, and addresses the question whether the judge makes or merely declares the law. This is discussed from the point of view of certain syntactic structures, in particular modal verbs.
1. Introduction; 2. 1. The Statute as a Speech Act; 3. 1.1. Introduction; 4. 1.2. Performatives; 5. 1.3. Felicity conditions; 6. 1.4. A statute as a speech act; 7. 1.5. The legislative sentence as a speech act; 8. 1.6. Other main clause verbs; 9. 2. The Legal Document as a Communicative Act; 10. 3. Potential Speech Acts: The Grammar of Delegating Power; 11. 3.1. Introduction; 12. 3.2. Features of potential speech acts; 13. 3.3. Similar structures; 14. 3.4. Wills and deeds; 15. 4. Reversible Performatives; 16. 5. 'This' and 'That' in Legal Texts; 17. 6. What does a Judge do?: Semantics and Pragmatics in Court Judgments; 18. 6.1. Introduction; 19. 6.2. Modality; 20. 6.3. Conditionals; 21. 6.4. Non-factive predicators; 22. 6.5. Conclusion; 23. Footnotes; 24. Appendix; 25. References