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. 


15th IAFL Biennial Conference

We are pleased to announce that the 15th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists will be hosted by the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL) at Aston University, Birmingham, UK.

The conference is scheduled to be held Monday-Thursday, 5-8 July, 2021, with an optional cultural visit on Friday, 9 July.

More information on the conference theme, call for papers, cultural event, and travel arrangements will be forthcoming from the Conference organizers. We look forwarding to seeing everyone at Aston University for our 15th biennial conference!

4th European Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists on the theme of “Consolidating Forensic Linguistics”

The University of Porto, in Portugal, will host the 4th European Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists on the theme of Consolidating Forensic Linguistics. The conference, which is organised by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, aims to engage the participants in the debate of the consolidation of Forensic Linguistics, and will be held from 15 to 17 October 2020.

1st Call for Papers: Call deadline: 31 March 2020.

A second call for papers will be issued in February 2020 with a deadline of April 2020. We recommend that those who need to apply for a Visa or for funding should submit their proposals during the first call so as to receive an early confirmation of acceptance, although authors who submit abstracts during the second call for papers will not be disadvantaged in any way.

We invite abstract submissions for INDIVIDUAL PAPERS, POSTERS and COLLOQUIA, in English or in Portuguese, dealing with forensic linguistics / language and the law including, but not limited to:

Legal Languages:
– The history of legal languages
– The role of literacy in legal languages
– Legal genres
– Critical approaches to legal languages
– Language education for law professionals

Legal Discourse:
– Courtroom, police and prison discourse
– Investigative interviewing
– Multilingual matters in legal contexts
– Power and the law
– The comprehensibility of legal documents
– Interviews with vulnerable witnesses in the legal system

Language minorities and the legal system:
– Linguistic disadvantage before the law
– Courtroom interpreting and translation
– Human Rights matters

Law on language:
– Language policy and linguistic rights
– Offensive language
– The linguist as expert witness

Linguistic evidence and investigative linguistics:
– Forensic phonetics and speaker identification
– Forensic stylistics
– Linguistic determination of nationality
– Authorship analysis
– Plagiarism
– Trademark disputes
– Consumer product warnings
– Deception and fraud

Other Related Sub-Themes:
– Computational Forensic Linguistics
– Cybercrime
– Online identities and interactive multimodal communication
– Multimodal approaches to forensic linguistics
– Intercultural mediation
– Comparative law
– Forensic communication

INDIVIDUAL PAPERS: Individual papers are invited for presentations of 20 minutes, with a further 10 minutes for questions. Abstracts of no more than 300 words, including references, should be sent via the submissions page ( by 31 March 2020 (to be considered in the first call). Please do not include your name, affiliation and email address in the abstract itself. Notifications of acceptance of the first call for papers will be communicated by 30 April 2020. Acceptance of proposals may be limited to one paper per presenter if more than one proposal is submitted by the same author(s).

POSTERS: Proposals for posters of no more than 300 words, including references, should be sent via the submissions page ( by 31 March 2020. Posters, which will be on display during the conference, should be of A0 size (841mm x 1189mm) in portrait orientation. Notifications of acceptance will be communicated by 30 April 2020.

COLLOQUIA: Proposals are invited for colloquia on particular topics related to forensic linguistics/language and the law. Each colloquium should include several independent papers and a joint discussion. Although 15 minutes per paper is recommended, with 5 minutes per paper for discussion, the colloquium organiser(s) will decide on the allocation of this time between the introduction, the individual paper presentations and the discussion. Colloquia proposals should be submitted by the colloquia organiser(s) by 31 March 2020 and include an abstract of no more than 750 words describing the overall colloquium, the names of the individual contributors and the titles of the presentations, as well as the name of the discussant and the language of the colloquium (English or Portuguese). Submitted proposals should also indicate the expected duration of the colloquium (1, 1.5 or 2 hours). Upon notification of acceptance, the colloquium organiser(s) will be asked to submit all individual abstracts (of no more than 300 words) by the end of June 2020 to be included in the conference programme. To submit a colloquium proposal, contact the conference directly at forensic.linguistics[at]

Official language: The official language of the 4th European Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists on the theme of Consolidating Forensic Linguistics is English, with the exception of the special track (in Portuguese).

Organized by: University of Porto, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Contact: forensic.linguistics[at]letras.​

Forensic Linguistics Panel at CADAAD 2020

Abstract submissions are invited for a panel on forensic linguistics that Dr David Wright is proposing for the 8th Conference for Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines (CADAAD) which will take place from 7-9 July 2020 and will be hosted by the University of Huddersfield, UK. The panel is entitled ‘Critical approaches to discourse in forensic contexts’.

The aim of the panel is to bring together papers which apply theories and approaches from within Critical Discourse Analysis to discourse in forensic or legal contexts. The call is broad and welcomes abstracts that deal with any critical analysis of relevant discourse types. This might include, but is not limited to:

  • Critical discourse analysis of written legal genres
  • Critical discourse analysis of spoken genres in the legal process
  • Critical discourse analysis of evidential or criminal texts
  • Critical discourse analysis of ‘non-forensic’ and texts and genres which have relevance to the delivery of justice
  • Critical discourse analysis of other institutional discourses as they pertain to law and crime (e.g. media, political and educational discourses)
  • The critical analysis of legal translation and legal interpreting
  • The analysis of abusive, harassing and threatening online and offline discourses
  • The analysis of hate speech

The theme of this year’s CADAAD conference is ‘Reconciling rigour and context in CDA’, with a specific focus on the steps that are taken to get from data to results.

All papers will be allocated 20 minutes plus 10 minutes for questions. The language of the conference is English.

Interested authors should send an abstract of up to 350 words (excluding references) to The deadline has been extended to Sunday 8th December 2019.

Once the abstracts have been submitted, seven abstracts will be selected for the panel such that the panel has a clear and coherent theme or thread. Once submitted to the conference organisers, all proposals are peer-reviewed and ‘abstracts that form part of a panel proposal will be reviewed individually’.

This event is not organised/sponsored by the IAFL, so for further information please contact Dr David Wright.

Conferences, Latest News

Call for Bids: Biennial Conference in 2021

The IAFL Executive Committee invites proposals from institutions with IAFL-affiliated members who wish to host the next biennial conference in 2021. We are also seeking preliminary proposals or inquiries about the 2023 meeting from members who may be keen to host but will not be ready for 2021. Proposals should be emailed by 15 December 2019 to Janet Ainsworth and Tammy Gales Inquiries meanwhile are welcome. Please ensure that proposals address all of the points identified below:

1. Location Where will the meeting be held and at what kind of site? Ideally, the conference would take place on a university campus, but hotel-based proposals will also be considered. Attractiveness of the location (what to see and do in the area) is a bonus but not a key factor.

2. Accessibility How difficult is it for overseas delegates to obtain visas to visit the host country? How far is the location from a well-serviced international airport? How will members reach the meeting location? How far is the conference venue from the town centre? What provisions will be made for delegates with disabilities? Do all the key conference venues have wheelchair access?

3. Accommodation Where will members stay during the meeting and how much will it cost? How far from the conference venue are the accommodations and how will delegates travel conveniently from the accommodation to the venue? What is the local geography like for the conference facilities themselves? We are particularly keen to understand distances between accommodation and conference facilities and also whether plenary sessions will be held close to or in the same building as parallel sessions. IAFL would prefer a low-cost university accommodation to be available for the majority of delegates needing accommodation, but with an option of staying in a nearby hotel for those who prefer. If campus accommodation is not available, what facilities are conveniently located near the designated hotels?

4. Fees What do you anticipate that the fee will be for IAFL members and non-members? Please note that the gap between the member and non-member registration fees must be at least as much as one year’s membership (applying the student rate as appropriate)? Fee structures will typically include discount for members and for students and this needs to be budgeted. You should also make clear what will be covered and not covered? Will there be a combined fee plus university accommodation rate?

5. Organizing Team Who will be responsible for organizing the meeting? What previous experience does the local committee have in organizing conferences? If they lack experience in organizing large events, what other experience of theirs will make success likely? How much of the organization can be contracted out (e.g. to university accommodation and catering services)?

6. Financial Support Beyond the organizers, will there be additional support from an academic department, school, or faculty? Is there likely to be financial support from a university or government source? Will you be insured in one way or another against loss (e.g., by your department or university setting aside emergency funds for this purpose)? What do you intend to do with any profit made?

7. Facilities What kinds of facilities are available both in the conference rooms and more generally on site? At a minimum, IAFL would expect: a) sufficiently-sized and equipped rooms with adequate IT and AV equipment; b) an on-call IT team (including weekends) to sort out the inevitable computer and AV mishaps that occur; c) sufficient and adequate catering facilities; d) access to the Internet for delegates at the conference venue; translation facilities if papers will be accepted for presentation in languages other than English. What other facilities are available on campus, in the student residences or on site more generally? Are facilities fully accessible for any disabled member?

8. Dates The preferred conference dates would fall during the first half of July. If you propose different dates, please address the extent to which delegates from various parts of the world will be able to attend during those dates. You will need, for example, to check on teaching term dates in the US, Europe and Australasia.

We look forward to receiving well-conceived and exciting proposals within the next few months.