Malcolm Coulthard, ISSFLA Founder & Director of Studies

Emeritus Professor of Forensic Linguistics at Aston University, where he was the founding director of the Centre for Forensic Linguistics, Malcolm Coulthard is best known for his work on the analysis of Spoken and Written Discourse and his An Introduction to Discourse Analysis (1977/1985) is still widely used. He is the founding editor of The International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law and was the Founding President of the International Association of Forensic Linguists. He is the author of 20 authored and edited books, as well as 50 articles and chapters in books, and has supervised numerous PhD dissertations on various aspects of language and law. Malcolm has been commissioned to write reports in over 150 cases including The Birmingham Six, The Derek Bentley Appeal (where, in 1998, the verdict of guilty was overturned after 46 years) and The Bridgewater Four Appeal, and has given expert evidence in courts in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Germany and Hong Kong.

Isabel Picornell, 16th Edition Course Director

A native of Manila, Dr. Isabel Picornell is a fraud examiner and Director of QED, a forensic linguistics consultancy. She got her PhD from Aston University and her research examined linguistic cues to deception in written witness statements. Isabel is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Forensic Linguists. She will teach sessions devoted to forensic authorship attribution.


Professor Janet Ainsworth lectures in Seattle University's School of Law. She served as Associate Dean for Faculty Development from 2001 to 2005, and has been honoured by students three times with teaching awards. Her scholarship has engaged a variety of issues, including the application of linguistics research to legal issues, criminal procedure, feminist critical theory, juvenile law, comparative law, imperial Chinese law, and law and social science. She is the author of numerous book chapters and articles appearing both in peer-reviewed social science journals and in law reviews including the Yale Law Journal, the Cornell Law Review, and the Washington University Law Quarterly. Her articles have been reprinted in five anthologies.

Dr Krzysztof Kredens received his MA in English Studies and PhD in English Linguistics from the University of Lodz. He is a lecturer in applied linguistics in the School of Languages and Social Sciences at Aston University, where he is Director of Undergraduate Programmes in English Language and teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in English applied linguistics. His research is based in the School's Centre for Forensic Linguistics, where he is Deputy Director. Dr Kredens works regularly as a forensic linguistic expert witness and is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Forensic Linguists. He also has experience of working as a public service interpreter.

Dr Nicci MacLeod holds an MA (Distinction) in Forensic Linguistics from Cardiff University - where she was also awarded the Dell Hymes Commendation for Sociolinguistics - and a PhD from Aston University. She was employed as Research Fellow on the project 'Language and Linguistic Evidence in the 1641 Depositions' at the University of Aberdeen, before returning to Aston in 2010 as a Research Associate in the Centre for Forensic Linguistics. She has worked on projects in the areas of authorship analysis of short form texts, modelling online identities, and the BAAL funded Applying Linguistics to Police Interviewing. She is currently employed on the ESRC-funded project Assuming identities Online. Her research interests lie in the linguistic performance of identity and the manifestation of power through linguistic structures, particularly in legal and investigative contexts.

Dr Ria Perkins graduated from Aston University's Master's programme in Applied Linguistics with Forensic Linguistics. Her PhD focused on native language identification in online Persian-English texts from 'weblogistan' and her current research is centred around linguistic issues in online radicalisation. She is working at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics as a research associate.