Code of Ethics for Linguists in Forensic Linguistics Consulting


The LSA Ethics Statement that was approved in 2009 was intended to be applicable to the whole field of linguistics. Some members of one subcommunity of linguists, those involved in forensic linguistics consulting, believed that the special ethical considerations of their work could be best captured in a more targeted statement, a draft of which we present here for comment. While there may be attempts to incorporate the ethical principles embodied in this draft into the general ethics statement in the future, it is proposed here as a possible amendment to the existing statement.

After a period of comment of at least six weeks, the comments will be reviewed and the LSA Ethics Committee  will determine how to proceed. If the range of comments only suggests a need for relatively straightforward revisions, these will be made and the revised statement will be sent to the LSA Executive Committee for review and, potentially, approval. If the comments suggest a need for more extensive changes, a new draft may instead be posted on this blog for a second round of review.

The primary compiler of the current draft of the statement is Ronald R. Butters, with contributions from Janet Ainsworth, Philip Gaines, Tim Grant, Jeff Kaplan, Geoffrey Nunberg, Roger Shuy, and Larry Solan. The statement is broken down into the four sections, and we request that comments are directed at the section that they are most closely related to.

Questions about the process for commenting on and approving the statement should be directed to Jeff Good, chair of the Ethics Committee for 2011. The Ethics Committee welcomes additional proposals to either revise or amend the Ethics Statement, and those interested should also feel free to contact the Ethics Committee chair.

One Response to Code of Ethics for Linguists in Forensic Linguistics Consulting

  1. Howard Kurtzman says:

    It might be useful to compare this draft with the recently revised “Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology” of the American Psychology-Law Society (Div. 41 of the American Psychological Association). There may be some concepts in that document that are worth including in the LSA code. See:

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