skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 70217 Find in a Library
Title: Order in Court - The Organisation of Verbal Interaction in Judicial Settings
Author(s): J M Atkinson; P Drew
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 284
Sponsoring Agency: Humanities Press, Inc.
Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716
Sale Source: Humanities Press, Inc.
17 First Avenue
Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This book focuses on empirically observable similarities and differences between the organization of talk in coversations and court hearings, particularly examination and cross-examination sequences.
Abstract: Recent work in conversational analysis has mainly been based on data from naturally occurring conversations involving very small numbers of people. The findings to date, however, do have implications for the study of speech exchange system. This book is the first attempt to examine what goes on in courts of law using these methods. Existing sociological studies of courtroom interaction are reviewed, and the potential of ethnomethodological approaches to the study of legal phenomena explored. A series of detailed evaluations of transcribed extracts from the opening sequences in a coroner's court and the blame allocation sequences in a tribunal of enquiry are presented. Analysis focuses on such issues as the way order is achieved at the start of a hearing and the ways in which accusations, excuses, and justifications are produced during the course of a cross-examination. The evaluations represent one of the first attempts to adopt this developing approach to the analysis of naturally occurring interaction in research into a speech exchange system other than conversations. The broad implications of use of ethnomethodology and conversations analysis for court work are discussed. Notes, an appendix of transcription symbols, 120 references, and a subject index are included. (Author abstract modified).
Index Term(s): Court reform; Courtroom decorum; Cross-examination; Rules of evidence; Testimony
Note: Oxford Socio-Legal Studies
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.