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What have the lawyers ever done for us? Law, culture and international agricultural trade

2 December 2008


Dr Fiona Smith (UCL Laws)
This lecture will explore the relationship between culture, language and law. Lawyers have a tendency to believe that words have fixed meanings, but in fact each person’s cultural heritage affects how they interpret language. Consequently, each person might understand the words slightly differently, so words in fact have multiple meanings, rather than a single, homogenous one. This insight is very important in the context of international trade agreements where many government representatives from different cultural backgrounds attempt to draft one set of rules which will ultimately govern both developing and developed nations. Understanding the breadth of meaning can only be beneficial to developing nations in their struggle against exploitation in the international trade negotiations. 

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