Democratizing access to justice: the comic contract as intersemiotic translation

Eliisa Pitkäsalo


Traditionally, legal documents such as contracts are verbally drafted by lawyers for other lawyers to read. However, it is highly desirable that the clients also understand their contents. The verbal format may be problematic if the parties do not have a common language or if they are unable to understand the legal jargon. For this reason, advocates of legal design have suggested that the contents of conventional legal documents could be presented in visual format. This paper aims to introduce one example of legal design, the comic contract, in which the verbal and visual modes interact. It discusses the process of transforming traditional legal documents into comics, which can be considered a kind of intersemiotic translation, and asks whether this format in fact improves the intelligibility and accessibility of legal documents.

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 ISSN 2184-4585