Challenges in Learning Legal English from Students' perspective at Hanoi Law University


  • Huong Thanh Nhac Hanoi Law University



challenges, legal English, students’ perspective, Hanoi Law University


Legal English, also known as Language of the Law (Mellinkoff, D. 2004), is an indispensable factor contributing to the development of legal field. At Hanoi Law University, Legal English is a compulsory subject in the syllabus of legal English majors and International Trade Law majors. The question that what obstacles students face when dealing with legal English, however, has not been fully answered at that institution. This present research, which makes use of survey questionnaires as the main method, aims to study the challenges of learning legal English from the students’ perspective. The results indicate notable difficulties arising from the distinctive characteristics of legal English, differences in legal systems between countries and insufficient background knowledge of the laws. It is expected that these findings do propose a number of practical recommendations in order to improve the effectiveness of learning legal English among students as well as the methods of teaching legal English among teachers.

Author Biography

Huong Thanh Nhac, Hanoi Law University

Nhạc Thanh Hương, MA., LLB - English Division, Foreign Languages Department, Hanoi Law University

- Cellphone: 0987012918

- Email:

Nhac Thanh Huong graduated from English Department and got Master degree on English Language Teaching at University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam National University. Having worked as a lecturer of English for more than 10 years, she is passionate about teaching and researching to find out and apply effective teaching methods in her English lessons. She also holds LLB degree to supplement her major - legal English- at Hanoi Law University.



Chen,Y. (2011). The institutional turn and the crisis of ESP pedagogy in Taiwan. Taiwan International ESP Journal, 3(1), 17-30.

Goode, R. (2014). Communication on European Contract Law. Retrieved from

Haigh, R.(2009). Legal English. Routledge-Cavendish.

Hutchinson, T., & Waters, A. (1987). English for Specific Purposes: A learning-centred approach. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from

Latha, M. (2014). Teaching English for specific purpose: challenges involved (with reference to English as a foreign language). International Journal of English and Literature, (4)1, 117-122.

Matilla, Heikki E. S. (2006). Comparative Legal Linguistics. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Mellinkoff, D. (2004). The Language of the Law. Resource Publications.

Northcott, J. (2008). Language education for law professionals. In J. Gibbons & M.T. Turell (Ed.), Dimensions of Forensic Linguistics, 27-45.

Saliu, B. (2013). Challenges for learners/ teachers in the ESP course for legal studies. SEEU Review, (9), 1. DOI: 10.2478/seeur-2013-0001.

Schane, S (2006). Language and the law. UCSD Linguistics

Tarkhova, Larisa. (2007). Challenges of teaching and learning Legal English. Russian University of Economics, Moscow.

Т.П.Попова. (2008). The challenges in teaching and learning Legal Writing. Higher School of Economics, Moscow.

White, J. B. (1982). The Invisible Discourse of the Law. Reflections on Legal Literacy and General Education. Michigan Quarterly Review, 21.





(JELE) Journal Of English Language and Education