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Title: What does a verdict do? A speech act analysis of giving a verdict
Authors: Ho, H.L. 
Keywords: Evidence
Legal proof
Issue Date: 2006
Citation: Ho, H.L. (2006). What does a verdict do? A speech act analysis of giving a verdict. International Commentary on Evidence 4 (2) : -. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: To give a legal verdict is to perform a speech act that carries many illocutionary forces. A verdict declares the institutional fact of (non-)guilt or (non-)liability; it asserts, on one interpretation, propositions of facts underlying or constitutive of the alleged guilt or liability, and, on a different interpretation, propositions about the legal proof of those facts; it ascribes legal character to the facts as found; it expresses a psychological state in relation to its propositional content, and, in some cases, with greater or lesser force, a negative attitude to the defendant's past conduct. A verdict can be evaluated on many different dimensions corresponding to the things that it does. As a declaration, it can be judged valid or not; as an assertion, it is true or false; and as an ascription, it is assessable in terms of right and wrong. So far as a verdict expresses belief, we demand that it be sincere and so far as it expresses condemnation, we require that the moral criticism be deserved. The aim of this essay is to provide a set of terminological apparatus with which analyses of the trial process may be conducted with greater clarity, and a framework within which to locate existing discussion of issues arising from such analyses. Copyright © 2006 The Berkeley Electronic Press. All rights reserved.
Source Title: International Commentary on Evidence
ISSN: 15544567
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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