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Stability and hybridity in refugee legal advice meetings: Discursive structure as a resource for lawyer-client intercultural communication

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Judith ReynoldsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2020. EQUINOX PUBLISHING.This article offers new insights into the discursive structuring of legal advice communication. Drawing on interactional data from eight legal advice meetings between one immigration lawyer and several different clients concerning the reunification of refugee families, the article employs communicative activity type (CAT) as a meso-level analytical approach to reveal the dynamically structured discursive organisation of these meetings. I show that whilst the stable discursive structure of the legal advice meeting evident in these data broadly confirms existing pedagogic models of legal advice communication, three different kinds of hybridity are also evident, revealing flexible use of the discursive structure in everyday practice. I also show that this stable but flexible discursive structure functions as a resource to support intercultural communication in this immigration advice context. This finding contrasts with analyses of intercultural communication in institutional gatekeeping interactions, which have argued that discursive structure functions as a barrier. The present study demonstrates the importance in discourse analysis of considering the purpose of an intercultural interaction when interpreting the meanings and functions of hybridity in discursive structure. The CAT analysis enhances our understanding of existing legal advice communication research, and functions as a heuristic for viewing legal advice as a form of institutionally grounded intercultural communication.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Reynolds JT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice

Year: 2018

Volume: 15

Issue: 1

Pages: 91-115

Print publication date: 27/11/2020

Online publication date: 27/11/2020

Acceptance date: 02/04/2020

Date deposited: 21/11/2022

ISSN (print): 2040-3658

ISSN (electronic): 2040-3666

Publisher: Equinox Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1558/jalpp.39087


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Funder referenceFunder name
Arts and Humanities Research Council (Funder ID:, Grant Number: 1494314).
Economic and Social Research Council (Funder ID:, Grant Number: ES/S010912/1)