Karen McAuliffe

Reader in Law and Birmingham Fellow
University of Birmingham
United Kingdom

portrait of karen mcauliffeMy research focuses mainly on the field of law, language and translation in multilingual legal orders — in particular, EU and EU institutions. Prior to entering academia, I worked as a lawyer-linguist at the Court of Justice of the European Union, where my research interest in multilingual law production was sparked. More generally, I am interested in the functioning of EU institutions, the relationship between law, language and translation and the role and use of language within a legal system.

My work is largely empirical and interdisciplinary, drawing on research methodologies from fields of sociology, anthropology, translation studies and linguistics to introduce new perspectives on the development of (EU) law. In recent years, I have also worked within the new academic subdiscipline of law and corpus linguistics: applying corpus linguistics tools, theories and methodologies to questions of law. This type of highly interdisciplinary research, which brings together traditionally disparate research fields, does pose challenges, however, in particular when trying to reconcile methods from different disciplines and presenting findings to diverse audiences. 

My most recent projects have attempted to address those challenges. For example, the ERC-funded project "Law and Language at the European Court of Justice" used diverse methods and theories to examine the process behind the production of the multilingual jurisprudence of the CJEU, with the aim of elaborating a new understanding of the development of EU law. You can read more about that project at my website.

Areas of Interest

Select Publications