Introducing ‘The Law’s Two Bodies’… (beginning Friday 28 October at 1pm)
This project, conducted within the Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research, asks the question ‘what is law’, but pursues an answer in a fashion different from typical jurisprudential studies. It examines what legal practitioners do; how they regard law; to what extent they think about law in the abstract.
The title and some of the inspiration for the project comes from Sir John Baker’s book of the same name. Central to the book is the argument that ‘The common law is almost universally regarded as a system of case-law, increasingly supplemented by legislation, but this is only partly true. There is an extensive body of lawyers’ law which has a real existence outside the formal sources but is seldom acknowledged or discussed either by legal theorists or legal historians.’ Sir John’s book is historical in its focus, but that of the present project is contemporary.
The approach is ethnographic rather than philosophical or sociological. The aim is to build up a corpus of interviews with a variety of legal practitioners, concentrating on the issues outlined above.
The interviews involve a set of questions posed to all interviewees and then further questions arising from the initial answers or appropriate to each interviewee. Interviews take place in a workshop setting, with attendees from the Institute, the Student Law Society, and others including local practitioners.
At present the purpose is to stimulate thought rather than to produce any publication. The aim is to create a set of interesting case studies, rather than a carefully representative sample of practitioners.
Interviewees in the first year of the project will include:
David Brynmor Thomas, Barrister, 39 Essex Chambers (Friday 28 October)
Malik Dahlan, Principal of Institution Quraysh for Law and Policy (Monday 7 November)
Hugh Dillon, Deputy State Coroner, New South Wales; Committee Member, National Judicial College of Australia (TBC)
Our first interview, with David Brynmor Thomas, takes place on Friday 28 October at 1pm (Old Class Library, 71 South Street). Lunch will be available at 12.30pm (Room 9, 71 South St).
Institute members may be interested in the upcoming public lecture, hosted by the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, on:
‘ISIS and its Future Pasts’
This lecture will be given by Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou.
The event will take place on Wednesday 19 October at 5pm in Arts Seminar Room 4.
On Monday 17 October, Professor Maria Macuch (Freie Universität, Berlin) delivered the SAIMS seminar on Middle Persian Court Records from Tabarestān: Recent Evidence on Legal Proceedings in Eighth-Century Iran.
On Tuesday 18 October 2016, at 2pm in the New Seminar Room, St John’s House, Professor Macuch led a workshop entitled Legal Constructions of Consanguinity: Succession in Sasanian Iran.
ILCR members may be interested in an exhibition by Yale Law School Library on how law was represented in Early Modern Venice. Some materials are available online (free of charge).
The exhibition catalogue has been published as a PDF document in the Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/itsta/7/
An album on the Rare Book Collection’s Flickr site presents a slightly abbreviated version of the exhibit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/yalelawlibrary/sets/72157636845012106