Welcome to FuzzyLaw
What is FuzzyLaw?
FuzzyLaw is an online resource which shows how people understand the language of the law.
What does FuzzyLaw do?
FuzzyLaw presents explanations of legal terms which have been provided by members of the public. If you have ever wondered what the ‘person on the street’ thinks, when they hear or read a legal term, FuzzyLaw will give you a clue. By making these explanations available, FuzzyLaw stimulates debate and learning about:
- the meanings of words
- the public understanding of law
- the nature of explanation
Who is FuzzyLaw for?
FuzzyLaw is for anyone who is interested in what the law means and how it is communicated. FuzzyLaw is particularly useful for police officers, interpreters, translators and lawyers because it can give background information which will help with those jobs. However everyone is welcome to browse the site and get involved with discussions here.
Who wrote the explanations on FuzzyLaw and how?
The explanations gathered together in FuzzyLaw are generously provided by members of the public via a website (flaw.cardiff.ac.uk).
I see. And what are these members of the public like?
Everyone who has contributed explanations to Fuzzylaw describes themselves as:
- aged over 18
- speakers of English as a ‘native language’, ‘first language’ or ‘mother tongue’
- resident in England and/or Wales for 10 years or more
Therefore they will understand English legal terminology as well as any member of the public might – when they misunderstand, we should ask whether others might misunderstand too.
Contributors also say that they have never worked in the legal system or as an interpreter or translator. They therefore bring no special expertise to the task of explanation, beyond whatever their daily life has provided.
What will I find on FuzzyLaw?
You will find explanations for 37 legal terms in total, each presented on a separate page. Each explanation page is updated as new explanations come in. You can also read responses to the explanations at the bottom of each explanation page. You are warmly invited to join in the discussion by adding your own responses. Check back regularly to see how things develop.
The site also contains Mini-articles which have been triggered by reading FuzzyLaw. You can respond to the Mini-articles, too.
Where is FuzzyLaw based and how wide is its relevance?
FuzzyLaw is part of a research programme about communication between the police and the public, based at Cardiff University, Wales.
FuzzyLaw focuses on England, Wales and Northern Ireland and mainly on criminal law. However the examples and discussions here are relevant to other languages, locations and legal systems because the issues they raise are transferable.
What is FuzzyLaw not for?
FuzzyLaw is not a website where you will find out about the technical meanings of legal terms. If you are interested in legal definitions themselves, please use a legal dictionary or, if you are a police officer, the Police National Legal Database (PLND).