Functions of Modal Verbs in European and British Legal Documents

Researches in languages for special purposes have qualified legal texts as a distinctive type of texts. The purpose of this study is to describe linguistic features of modal verbs which were found in different types of legal writing and to examine the reasons for their use. In this paper I will try to compare the use of modal verbs in European Directives and British Statutes and to investigate the expression of obligation in legal texts such as contracts which are texts which lay down the obligations and the rights of the parties to the contract.
Key words: coherence, obligation, modality, legislation, variety, statement, behaviour.