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Law Stripped Bare: Law and the Eye of the Legal Beholder




Law has become, it seems, a set of PowerPoint slides, a note on a Wikipedia page, judgment as self-contained and having no general application, legislation untroubled by the cushioning of the common law and its principles, jurisprudence and more. The interventions of digital sharing are disrupting law through the dispositions of the crowd that create new meanings and new interpretations of law – regardless of lineage. Law shaped this way, however, breaks not only with convention but with the political compact, and the disposition of popularity as a determinate of legal verities, and the dangers that inhere within radically altered legal sensibilities.

As a result, the texts of law have become ever-diminishing, a law stripped bare. Law stripped down to its essentials might seem the perfect antidote to the never-ending proliferation of laws, but the obverse is true. Errors and misconceptions aside, law remains to be filled through the imagination and reference points of its interpreters, accidental and the incidental, but profoundly self-referential in ways that are either creative and exciting new interpretations or (and potentially ‘and’) profoundly and radically perilous in their obliteration of the sensibilities and dispositions embedded within law – or conversely profoundly reconstruct law in an entirely new guise. What remains are the bare bones of law, waiting to be embellished; that embellishment comes from the eye of the legal beholder, as individual, and in doing so, law becomes a plaything, a gewgaw, in the hands of its new possessor, the lawyer as individual interpreter or sharer of individual wisdom, over the lawyer as the holder of the conscience of a collective and shared enterprise – a silent partner that inflects law – that is now read out of the legal compact.

Speaker: Dr Marett Leiboff is Associate Professor at the School of Law, University of Wollongong Australia. Her research and scholarship centre on the legal theories of cultural legal studies, law and humanities and theatrical jurisprudence, with a particular focus on how the nonlegal formation of the lawyer affects and influences practices of legal interpretation. She works with history, biography, and different cultural forms, and how they are experienced and encountered, in order to understand how lawyers interpret legal texts through time, and how non-legal experience through generational change affects that interpretation, and what this means for legal integrity.

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When and where

1.00pm - 2.00pmFriday 13th April 2018

D113 Rhind Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1R 0JD United Kingdom

Contact Details

CLS Research Events

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom
0207 040 3410

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