27–28 January 2023, Nantes, France

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Organising Committee: Audrey Cartron (Nantes Université-Aix-Marseille Université - LERMA), Laurent Gautier (Université de Bourgogne - Centre Interlangues - Texte, Image, Langage), Arthur Joyeux (Université de Bourgogne - Centre Pluridisciplinaire Textes et Cultures), Mary C. Lavissière (Nantes Université - CRINI)


“But first, those who are at sea, in which category would you place them?” – Anacharsis

The sea has historically been seen as a zone of exceptions to expected human behavior and codes. Law, as a human regulatory activity, has also made certain specificities for activities associated with the sea, including commerce (Corruble 2015, 2018; Fedi 2019). While maritime law and law of the sea are highly researched domains of law, few studies exist about the language associated with these fields, with a few exceptions (Orts Llopis 2014). In a global society that is increasingly impacted by environmental, health, social, and political crises that partly unfold on the sea, this focus conference aims to unite legal scholars and linguists who work on the language of these fields.

We include fields of public and private law. Law of the sea generally deals with public law (Chaumette 2021) while private law is most often associated with maritime law. Law related to this domain is fragmented (Lavissiere & Fedi, in press) which allows large margins for negotiation by powerful companies, such as shipping companies. The business relationships of these companies are currently called into question (Fedi et al. 2022; Corruble 2021; Brooks et al. 2019). This conference will be an opportunity to investigate:

  • the types of legal documents that frame these private relationships and the language that is specific to them and their rhetorical (Swales 1990) or pragmatic (Trosborg 1997) structure;
  • language and discourse approaches to domestic law, especially competition law, related to maritime matters;
  • language and discourse approaches to domestic law, international law related to security in private companies that work in the maritime industry.

We equally extend this conference to language and discourse from fields related to the law of the sea, including:

  • environmental questions (opening up of the Arctic sea route, threats that human sea activity pose to biodiversity);
  • security questions (trafficking, piracy, conflicts);
  • sovereignty issues (Corruble 2020) and coastal States (international waters, economic zones);
  • concerns related to immigration, refugee crises, law enforcement (police border patrols, marines, naval infantry etc.) on the sea and in ports.

The fields of language related to these legal questions can include theoretical concerns in legal linguistics (Tiersma 1999), discourse and genre questions, terminology and other traits of specialized discourse, translation and interpretation. Papers may address concerns such as the following:

  • What genres (Bhatia 1993, 2012) are specific to maritime law or law of the sea? How do they differ from genres in other fields of law?
  • How does the specific framework in these domains affect language in their documents or oral genres?
  • What terminological specificities do we observe?
  • How are translation and interpretation affected by the specific legal framework?


Instructions for contributors:

To submit, please send an anonymous abstract to the following address: ILLAfocus-2023[at]univ- nantes.fr

Please include the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), their position, their institution (with
postal address) and their email address in the body of the email.

The abstract should be sent as an attachment in .pdf and .doc format. It should not be more than 500
words, references included and in APA format. It must be anonymous and not contain information
identifying its authors in the abstract itself or in the metadata of the file. Abstracts and presentations
may be in French or English, but the latter is preferred because of the international nature of the


Important dates:

July 2022: Call for Papers published

1 November: Deadline for abstract submissions

28 November 2022: Notification of acceptance sent to authors

December 2022: Final programme published


Scientific Committee:

Ana Bocanegra-Valle (Universidad de Cádiz)
Enrica Bracchi (Nantes Université)
Audrey Cartron (Nantes Université-Aix-Marseille Université - LERMA)
Patrick Chaumette (Nantes Université)
Philippe Corruble (EM Normandie)
Laurent Gautier (Université de Bourgogne - Centre Interlangues - Texte, Image, Langage)
Laurent Fedi (Kedge Business School)
Arthur Joyeux (Université de Bourgogne - Centre Pluridisciplinaire Textes et Cultures)
Mary C. Lavissière (Nantes Université - CRINI)
Isabelle Richard (Nantes Université)


Suggested bibliography:

Bhatia, Vijay K. (1993): Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings. London: Longman.

Bhatia, Vijay K. (2012): “Critical reflections on genre analysis”. In: Iberica. AELFE 24: 17–28.

Brooks, Mary/ Meersman, Hilde/Sys, Christa/Van de Voorde, Eddy,/Vanelslander, Thierry (2019): Technical report: regulation in the liner shipping industry: pathway to a balance of interests. 48 pages.

Chaumette, Patrick (dir.) (2021): Droits Maritimes, 4ème éd. Paris: Dalloz Action.

Corruble, Philippe (2015): “Global shipping alliances: what prospects after the rejection of the P3 project by China’s competition authority?”. In: Journal of International Maritime Law 21(3): 203-211.

Corruble, Philippe (2018): “Les alliances maritimes mondiales entre le zist et le zest”. In: Droit Maritime Français 807: 867-876.

Corruble, Philippe (2020): “‘No deal’ et résilience des droits des pêcheurs européens dans les eaux britanniques”. Le Droit Maritime Français 628, octobre-novembre: 842-853.

Corruble, Philippe (2021): EU Competition Law applicable to liner shipping and seaports - New challenges of the regulation. Ed. Bruylant, France.

Fedi, Laurent (2019): “Alliances stratégiques dans l’industrie des liners : les voies de réponses du droit de la concurrence européen et international”. Droit Maritime Français 816: 675-686.

Fedi, Laurent/ Faury, Olivier/Rigot-Muller, Patrick/Nicolas, Montier (2022): “COVID-19 as a catalyst of a new container port hierarchy in Mediterranean Sea and Northern Range”. Maritime Economics and Logistics. 10.1057/s41278-022-00223-z.

Orts Llopis, María Ángeles (2014): “Contractual Commitment or Obligation? The Linguistic Interactions in Charter Parties Publication”. Interpersonality in Legal Genres (Series: Linguistic Insights 191): 87–113.

Lavissière, Mary C/Fedi, Laurent (In press): “Maritime Cooperative Working Agreements: variability as a proxy for legal atomization”. FACHSPRACHE.

Lefrançois, Amandine (2011): “L'usage de la certification, nouvelle approche de la sécurité dans les transports maritimes”. Aix-en-Provence : Presses Universitaires d'Aix-Marseille.

Swales, John (1990): Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tiersma, Peter M. (1999): Legal language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Trosborg, Anna (1997): Rhetorical strategies in legal language: discourse analysis of statutes and contracts (Tübinger Beiträge Zur Linguistik 424). Tübingen: Narr.