4-5-6 October 2016: Introduction (Emanuele Conte and Stefania Gialdroni)

Dear all,

you will be able to access all information about the course, including the readings, on the e-learning platform of the RomaTre University (http://elearning.giur.uniroma3.it/) during the next days. in the meanwhile, you can have a look at least at one of the readings of the first week, which is available online(the one by Robin West). You can find below a brief description of the topics of the first week of the course.

Drawing by QUINO

This week, classes will be devoted to an overview of the Law and the Humanities movement, starting from James Boyd White’s masterpiece “The Legal Imagination” (1973). After having described the various strands of the movement (and the “classical”  distinction between “Law AS Literature”, “Law IN Literature” and “Law ABOUT Literature”), the final lesson will focus on the language of the Italian Constitution.

The suggested readings are therefore of a different nature: the first two describe what “Law and the Humanities” is (or is supposed to be), the last one focuses on an analysis of the Italian Constitution (it is written in Italian as no material in English is available on the topic).

1) Austin Sarat, Matthew Anderson , Catherine O. Frank (eds.), Law and the Humanities. An Introduction, Cambridge et al., 2010, Introduction, pp. 1-46.

2) Robin West, Community, Text and Law: Reflections on the Law and Literature Movement, in Yale J.L. & Human., Vol. 1, Iss. 1, Art. 8, 1989. Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlh/vol1/iss1/8.

3) Tullio De Mauro, Il linguaggio della Costituzione, in «Costituzione della Repubblica italiana (1947)»,  Torino-Roma 2006, pp. VII-XXXII.

Prof. Rebecca Spitzmiller (RomaTre University) and Dr. Stefania Gialdroni on Law & Language (applied)

Dear students,download

the next three classes will be devoted to the analysis of the “Language of the Law” from two different perspectives. The first class will propose a linguistic analysis of legal texts, taking as an example the Italian Constitution (Gialdroni). The other two classes will face the problem of legal texts focusing on the challange of translation, providing lots of examples and little exercises (Spitzmiller).


– The reading about the “Language of the Italian Constitution” is unfortunately written in Italian. Anyway, as there is no comparable article related to this issue, it is suggested even though not compulsory.

Prof. Spitzmiller asks you to read and do the exercises from “Legal English” by Maria Gigliola di Renzo Villata before the lessons. This text was prepared for Italian speakers but it should also be useful for visiting Erasmus and other international students since we assume they are also studying in some Italian law courses and thus learning legal Italian. This reading will make aware of some common mistakes and point out some “false friends” between English and Italian.  For non mother-tongue Italian speakers, in the exercises that compare English and Italian terms they might do well to try and translate both into their own language, to see which friends are “true friends” in their native tongues.

– The other two articles, “Exploring Students’ Engagement…” and the Jessup article, both regard language-learning based on two initiatives at Roma Tre, one of which the students in Law and the Humanities are now participating: “Studying Law at Roma Tre.” The other is the Jessup international moot court competition, a very challenging yearly endeavor in which Roma Tre has participated for about ten years now. These two articles could provide an opportunity to reflect on the very processes by which students learn a foreign legal language and could form the basis of general discussion on that topic.

De Mauro, Tullio, Il linguaggio della Costituzione, in «Costituzione della Repubblica italiana (1947)»,  Torino-Roma 2006, pp. VII-XXXII.

Di Renzo Villata, Maria Gigliola (ed. by), Legal English, Assago: Cedam 2011 (2007), pp. 51-64.

Walbaum Robinson, Isabel Alice and Spiztmiller, Rebecca, Exploring students’ engagement with the curriculum in a law programme taught in English at an Italian University, pp. 1-13.

Spitzmiller, Rebecca, THE PHILLIP C JESSUP INTERNATIONAL LAW MOOT COURT COMPETITION: A TOOL FOR TEACHING/LEARNING LEGAL ENGLISH, in “European Journal of Legal Education”, 3.2 (2006), pp. 111-119.

Prof. Spiztmiller CV

Lawyer, Professor (Agg.) in Comparative Law at Università degli studi Roma Tre; Adjunct Professor (Co-Instructor) LUISS University School of Management; Instructor of Legal English for the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura and for the Scuola Superiore dell’Avvocatura; Author, Editor & Translator (Italian to English); Member of the Florida Bar Association.

The full version of Prof. Spitzmiller’s CV is available HERE.