The Value of Language and Content Needs Analysis in English for Legal Purposes Courses: Example from Croatia
English for legal purposes (ELP) is gaining more importance worldwide, which means using this type of language in different cultural and linguistic contexts, and in different legal systems. Therefore there is a need to develop ELP courses which are sensitive to the particular environment in which they will be implemented (Jordan, 1997) and the first step is to conduct a thorough needs analysis of language knowledge and skills as well as areas of law the students find most important. This study evaluated the needs of three groups of ELP students: first-year law students taking ELP as a mandatory course, graduate law students taking ELP as an elective course and practising lawyers attending ELP courses at a specialised language school. A total of 161 students participated. The study adopted a quantitative approach and aimed at determining differences between the groups in the fields of language skills and areas of law, as well as at establishing students‘ satisfaction with the current ELP course and their motivation and usage of ELP. The outcomes of the study confirmed our initial hypothesis: there is a strong correlation between gaining work experience and the level of importance attached to areas of law studied in ELP courses.
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