Netherlands, Utrecht

Visual legal Advocacy

when 21 July 2014 - 1 August 2014
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 ECTS
fee EUR 935

Lawyers tell stories, usually other people's stories. Film is a great modality for storytelling. How is this in the legal world. Can lawyers use film to tell their client’s stories?

As the quantity of global information grows exponentially, communicating with visuals allows us to comprehend large quantities of data. Can lawyers use images to make their point of view clear?

Yes. The use of images is burgeoning in the justice system and will continue to do so. Digital technologies and images have become more important in every phase of the system; multimodality is the standard in nowadays communication and of course also enters the courtrooms.

Visual literacy is the capability to discriminate and interpret the visible actions, objects, symbols that we encounters in our environment. How do lawyers and judges deal with this new developments?

To judge and develop visual legal arguments – storytelling as well as advanced data representation - one should know the rules, know the debates. Lawyers must learn to read films and other multimodal texts, info graphics, and so on and learn to respond adequately to them. They need the critical tools to analyze what visuals do, what they tell, how they convince.

In this course we welcome law students and other students who are fascinated by visuals in legal advocacy. We offer you a wide range of information about multimodality in legal matters. The course is a mixture of theory, analysis and practical design In class we discuss the state of affairs of the visual literacy and the use of images in the courtrooms. We give you an introduction in visual literacy. What is the history of visual language, how does the brain respond to images, why can lawyers have difficulties with visual literacy, how can you make your point clear through visual language? We give you an introduction in the impact of videos in the courtroom. How to use videos. What are the practical and theoretical issues? We practice film analysis on legal materials.

In Amsterdam’s Open Studio, a great place to work, we practice hands on! Using the camera and the editing software, you will produce an short evidential clip yourself! We practice understanding legal info graphics, hands on, designing info graphics yourself!

We have planned some interesting excursions. We take you to The Hague, city of international justice, to visit one of the International Courts. We also visit the digital courtroom in Utrecht and meet judges who work in the digital era.
As we are with an international group of students, we represent experiences and knowledge from all over the world. That is interesting, but also very exciting, a really nice way to exchange!

Course leader

Paul van den Hoven

Target group

Lawyers, law students as well as students in media theory, film theory, social psychology, sociology, semiotic studies and other academic students who are fascinated by visuals in legal advocacy.

Course aim

- Students develop a theoretical insight in the rhetoric of visual arguments compared to verbal arguments and are able to relate this to aspects of legal procedures (formal as well as ideological.
- Students are able to produce a form analysis of a visually presented argument (mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, sound) and relate this to a rhetorical analysis (argument structure, subtexts, pathos).
- Students are able to produce a form as well as a rhetorical analysis of legal info graphics.
- Students can basically design a visual text (argument design, shooting script, storyboard, logistics) and produce a visual text (basics of editing and postproduction).

Credits info

Certificate of Attendance

Fee info

EUR 935: Course + course materials + housing


Utrecht Summer School doesn't offer scholarships for this course.

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