Author: IAFL Admin


Virtual roundtable on language and law in Africa, 2021

The North-West University and the University of South Africa will jointly host the Virtual Roundtable on Language and Law in Africa, 2021. The two-day event, which is sponsored by the IAFL, focuses on Forensic Linguistics / Language and Law in Africa and will allow delegates to present relevant research on the topic.

This virtual meeting will take place after the 2nd Southern African Regional Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists, which was scheduled for 2 and 3 April 2020 in Parys, South Africa, has been suspended as a result of the world-wide pandemic of the COVID-19 infection declared by the World Health Organization. 

The webinar programme can be found here. For further information, contact Dr Terrence Carney



IAFL15: The 15th Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists


The 15th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL) will be hosted by the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL), Aston University, Birmingham, UK from Monday 5th to Friday 9th of July, 2021.

The Organising Committee is running two calls for papers. The due date of the first early call will be 2nd Oct 2020. Abstracts received before this date will receive decisions by the 2nd November to allow delegates ample time to apply for visas. The second standard call due date will be 8th January 2021 and decisions will be returned on 5th February 2021.

The review process is such that the Organising Committee will ensure there is no advantage or disadvantage in terms of which call you choose to answer. All abstracts will be assessed by reviewers on their merits.

List of Topics

The 15th IAFL conference will be a forum for the discussion of all aspects of forensic linguistics and language and law. We welcome proposals for individual papers, posters and panels on, but not limited to, the following topics:

Legal discourse: Language of the law, The history of legal languages; Legal genres; Critical approaches to legal languages.

Language and the legal process: Courtroom, police and prison discourse; Investigative interviewing; Power and the law; Interviews with vulnerable witnesses; Language and disadvantage; Interpreting and translating in legal contexts; Bilingual courtrooms; Legal interpreting & translation.

Investigative linguistics and language evidence: Authorship analysis; Forensic stylistics; Speaker identification; Plagiarism; Trademark disputes; Consumer product warnings; Deception and fraud.

Language and cybercrime: Online identities and communication; Online sexual grooming; Online language crimes (e.g.: hate crime, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, online deception and fraud.)

Education and training: Language education for law professionals; School-based program for language awareness; Readability/comprehensibility of legal documents.

Forensic phonetics and speaker identification: Transcription and translation of covert recordings; Forensic voice comparison.

Note: As of the summer of 2020 the working assumption of the Organising Committee is that this will run as a traditional in-person conference. Submitting an abstract in no way commits you financially. As the global situation with regard to the COVID19 pandemic develops over the next months the Organising Committee will keep all options under review.

For further information on the conference, including submission guidelines, fees, travel and accommodation information, please visit the conference website.


IAFL Porto 2020 update on COVID-19: Meeting cancelled

The Organising Committee of the 4th European Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL Porto 2020) regrets to inform you that, given the current COVID-19 pandemic, and upon consulting the Executive Committee of the IAFL, it has decided to postpone the European conference until 2022. Although Portugal is currently a safe place to be (the daily rate of new infections has been steadily below 1%), we are aware that this is not the case everywhere and in order to get to the conference delegates will need to travel – which may be difficult in the coming months. In addition, although the lockdown has officially ended in Portugal, there are still restrictions on the number of people allowed per sq/m in closed spaces. We don’t know for how long this restriction will be in force, and neither can we predict if things change for worse in the Autumn.

The Organising Committee considered two other alternatives in particular: (1) hosting the conference online; (2) postponing the conference for a couple of months. The first option was immediately discarded on the grounds that one of the best features of IAFL conferences is networking and that would be completely missed. Also, given time differences, attending the entire conference would be difficult in some parts of the globe. The second alternative, which would allow us to postpone the conference until January or February, was given serious thought, but dropped because again no one can predict whether the state of affairs will be much different then.

Given that the 15th Biennial Conference of the IAFL will take place at Aston University in July 2021, we decided to postpone the 4th European Conference of the IAFL in Porto to Spring 2022. The exact dates will be announced in due time.



The 2nd Southern African Regional Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists, scheduled for 2 and 3 April 2020 in Parys, South Africa, has just been suspended as a result of the world-wide pandemic of the COVID-19 infection declared by the World Health Organization. In keeping with public safety guidelines, the IAFL discourages public gatherings to avoid the further spread of this disease, and instead encourages social distancing-elimination of situations in which people are in proximity to others. The Local Organising Committee will soon decide whether the meeting will be cancelled or postponed.