Forensic Discourse Analysis of Legal and Courtroom Interaction: A Study of 12 Angry Men


  • Dr Muhammad Haseeb Nasir NUML, Islamabad
  • Amina Batool NUML, Isb
  • Dr. Ejaz Mirza NUML, Islamabad



The study aimed to analyze the complications and complexities involved legal discourse and its manifestation in the trial. It also explored the legal dynamics of courtroom and the jury interactional patterns in the movie ‘12 Angry Men’ from forensic perspective. The study to highlighted as to how language acts as a source of agency and power to investigate cooperation among the speakers in a legal setting. The researchers conceptualized a framework using Heffer’s (2013) model designed for legal and forensic discourse and Grice’s (1975) Cooperation Principle and its maxims. The data for the study was taken from a movie ‘12 Angry Men’, that was inspired by a real trial. The major findings of the study highlight that there is significant dominance in the projection of the judge’s voice in the court and there is lack of direct communication that affects the trial itself by making it difficult for the jury to understand the facts of the case properly. Moreover, agency is continuously taken away from the jury which results in misunderstanding of the case.  Most of the jury members express sheer boredom and sleepiness, while others showcase extreme interest for the prosecution. Power among the jury members in the trial gets manifested from failure of effective voice projection and scarce cooperation between the jury members. The forensic discourse analysis highlights that the jury members excessively violated all the maxims. However, the maxims that were flouted the most were that of quantity and relevance. This signifies that the urge for authority and the absence of agency can actually have far reaching consequences on the final verdict.

Keywords: Jury room, Legal, Maxims, Power, Trial,