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Regional or Minority Language Use before Judicial Authorities: Provisions and Facts

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Author(s): Valeria Cardi

Journal: Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe
ISSN 1617-5247

Volume: 6;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: minority language | judicial authorities | European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages | ECRML

ABSTRACT
The aim of this article is to consider whether different levels of linguistic protection and promotion lead to different regional or minority language use patterns before judicial authorities. The analysis, carried out among those EU member states which have ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) and which have signed undertakings from Article 9, paragraph 1 at (i) and (ii) levels, shows that regional or minority languages have rarely if ever been used before courts, as they are perceived by their speakers as inadequate for the judicial domain. It also shows that, while one of the elements influencing the language choice of regional or minority language speakers, namely the lack of employees of the judiciary sufficiently competent in the relevant regional or minority language, has proved to vary according to the levels of linguistic protection implemented. Other factors (fear of delays in the proceedings, fear of being seen as 'troublemakers', lack of adequate terminology and lack of information) do not seem to depend on the different degrees of enforceability of the relevant linguistic provisions.
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