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Study Unit 4 – eLearning RPK 214 SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO PERSUASIVE LEGAL WRITING.

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Presentation on theme: "Study Unit 4 – eLearning RPK 214 SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO PERSUASIVE LEGAL WRITING."— Presentation transcript:

1 Study Unit 4 – eLearning RPK 214 SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO PERSUASIVE LEGAL WRITING

2 APPROACHING PROPER PERSUASIVE WRITING 1.FACTS  Consultations 2.IDENTIFY ISSUE / OBJECTIVES 3.CONSIDER AUDIENCE & PURPOSE 4.RESEARCH LAW 5.TECHNIQUE OF PERSUASION 6.PERSUADE! (Legal analysis & conclusion) 7.REPOV - Listen to your clients! - Ensure thorough fact collection NB! Do not miss the point!

3 2. IDENTIFYING THE ISSUE… What is the case about? What do you have to prove?

4 5. PERSUASION TECHNIQUES… From whose perspective will persuasion be directed? How will arguments be presented? Law applied strictly / argued that law is outdated & ill-suited to facts What facts will be used / discarded? Deductive reasoning? FIRAC?

5 PERSUADE! 1.Create favourable context 2.Present facts from client’s point of view 3.Emphasize favourable facts; de-emphasize unfavourable facts 4.Active vs. passive voice 5.Using dependent & independent clauses to create emphasis 6.Selecting words with right denotation & right connotation

6 CREATE FAVOURABLE CONTEXT 1 ST impressions count! “HE PULLED OUT A GUN AND, AT POINT-BLANK RANGE, SHOT THE WOMAN IN THE HEAD” Who is the victim? Who is the perpetrator? “PUSHING HIS SON OUT OF HARM’S WAY, HE PULLED OUT A GUN AND, AT POINT-BLANK RANGE, SHOT THE WOMAN IN THE HEAD” o Which approach would defence attorney take? o Prosecutor?

7 RELATE STORY FROM CLIENT’S POINT OF VIEW POW = POWERFUL PERSUASION TOOL  Subject for DEFENCE:Shooter  Subject for PROSECUTION:Victim

8 EMPHASIZE FAVOURABLE FACTS; DE-EMPHASIZE UNFAVOURABLE ONES 1.AIRTIME 2.DETAIL 3.POSITIONS OF EMPHASIS 4.SENTENCE LENGTH 5.ACTIVE & PASSIVE VOICE 6.DEPENDENT & MAIN CLAUSES o Readers remember what they hear most o Give favourable facts more ‘airtime’ Readers remember best facts described in detail Readers remember beginning & end E.g.: …she told police her assailant was in his early 40’s. Mr Zille is 22.  Readers remember facts in short sentences better  Favourable facts in short sentences  Unfavourable facts in longer sentences  Active voice  emphasize actor’s action  Passive voice  de-emphasize actor’s actions  Favourable facts in main clause

9 ACTIVE vs PASSIVE VOICE ACTIVE  EMPHASIZE actor’s actions PASSIVE  DE-EMPHASIZE actor’s actions o Defence counsel:“Miss Tau was assaulted” o Prosecution:“The accused assaulted Miss Tau”

10 MAIN & DEPENDENT CLAUSE TO CREATE EMPHASIS DEFENCE COUNSEL: “Later that day, the police searched Mr Zille’s (client) car and apartment. In the apartment, the police found the gun issued to Mr Zille by his employer. The next day, the police held an identity parade at the police station. Although the victim identified Mr Zille as the man who had approached her, the witness did not pick Mr Zille out of the parade. PROSECUTION: “An identity parade was held the next day. Although the witness was unable to identify the man who had assaulted the victim, the victim identified Zille as her assailant.

11 DENOTATION & CONNOTATION OF WORDS Word’s CONNOTATION (association) as important as DENOTATION (meaning) When referring to an accused: DEFENCE:Mr Fred Zille / Mr Zille / Fred Zille PROSECUTION:Accused / the assailant / the suspect / the perpetrator

12 WORD CHOICE  Shortest meaningful word!  Emotive words  emphasise FAVOURABLE facts - The defendant ran down the street - The defendant charged down the street - The defendant searched through the plaintiff’s handbag - The defendant rummaged through the plaintiff’s handbag  Be careful of absolutes and qualifiers  can dilute persuasiveness - He was very, very scared  He was petrified - This is possibly the answer the court is looking for  This is the answer the court seeks

13 WHY DO WE HAVE TO DE-EMPHASISE UNFAVOURABLE FACTS INSTEAD OF JUST LEAVING IT OUT? ETHICAL DUTY! MORAL DILEMMA Our duties as legal practitioners are to seek the truth, NOT to hide facts from court. If you find this moral dilemma perplexing, make a mental note to bring it up during one of your eChats...

14 The End Remeber class exercise 5


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