Order in Court: The Organisation of Verbal Interaction in by J. Maxwell Atkinson, Paul Drew

By J. Maxwell Atkinson, Paul Drew

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Clearly these do vary, and therefore for conversation there can be no rules pre-specifying turn order and turn size. The fact that turn order and turn size vary for conversation, (together with some observations about the interactional difficulties which would arise were that not to be the case)5 argues for there being some means whereby turn-taking is managed by co-participants on a local basis within given conversations. There must be techniques available to participants through which they can manage the co-ordination of transfers from one speaker to another, in such· a way that we find these variations within and between actual conversations.

These matters would be out of the hands of participants to manage, because they would be pre-specified - with the result that the order in which parties speak, and the length of their turns, would not vary from conversation to conversation, or within a single conversation. Clearly these do vary, and therefore for conversation there can be no rules pre-specifying turn order and turn size. The fact that turn order and turn size vary for conversation, (together with some observations about the interactional difficulties which would arise were that not to be the case)5 argues for there being some means whereby turn-taking is managed by co-participants on a local basis within given conversations.

In this chapter we are concerned primarily with the stages of a hearing which are often perhaps the major part of the business of most kinds of court, the examination of witnesses and defendants. The rules of evidence which apply to the different types of examination (examination-in-chief, cross-examination, and re-examination) clearly have implications for the kinds of questions which may be asked, and for the distribution of certain sequences: for example, the rules applying to examination-in-chief not only affect the format in which questions may be put, but also result in the infrequency of sequences in which counsel challenge witnesses' evidence.

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