Cohesion in selected land disputes’ judgments at Ondo State High Court of Justice

Sangodeyi, Tolulope Esther (2014)



The study identified the cohesive devices in the selected land disputes’ judgement documents at Ondo State High Court of Justice. It analysed the identified cohesive devices in the documents and also related the cohesive features to the legal context of the selected judgements. All these were done with a view to demonstrating how cohesive devices were functionally utilised in legal documents. The study employed both primary and secondary sources of data collection. The primary data comprised six purposively selected land disputes’ judgement documents. Two documents were selected from each of the three Senatorial Districts in Ondo State, namely, Ondo South, Ondo North and Ondo Central. The secondary source included books, journal articles and the Internet. The data collected were analysed using the linguistic framework of Halliday and Matheissen’s Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG). The results showed that the cohesive devices in the selected land disputes’ judgement documents were synonyms, antonyms, collocations, repetitions, references and conjunctions. It was realised from the statistical analysis of data that repetition had the highest frequency on the table of judgement texts analysis. It was followed by synonymy, conjunction, collocation, references and antonyms respectively. The results further showed that the device of repetition was mainly used for the purpose of precision and clarity, while synonymywas used for reiteration, emphasis and for creating textual unity. Findings also showed that conjunction served the same purpose of creating textual unity and coherence. Analysis indicated on the other hand, that collocationwas used for enhancement of effective understanding of the texts; and on the other hand, that references and antonyms were used to disambiguate the information conveyed in the judgement texts. The study further revealed that cohesive devices were found to be strategic to the conventional requirement of legal discourse in the aspect of clarity. The study concluded that the cohesive devices in the selected land disputes’ judgements were jointly utilised for making the discourse to be unified and to be devoid of ambiguities.