Reading The Legal Case
Cross-Currents between Law and the Humanities
This volume examines the nature, function, development and epistemological assumptions of the legal case in an interdisciplinary context. Using the question of ‘reading’ as a guiding principle, it opens up new ways of understanding case law and the doctrine of precedent by bringing the law into dialogue with the humanities. What happens when a legal case is read not only by lawyers, but by literary critics, by linguists, by philosophers, or by historians? How do film makers and writers adapt and transform legal cases in their work? How might one interpret fiction in the context of the historical development of the common law? The essays in this volume test the boundaries of the legal case as a genre by inviting perspectives from other disciplines, and in doing so also raise more fundamental questions of what constitutes law and legal thinking. This book will be of interest to anyone seeking a better understanding of the common law, the humanities, and the intersection between them.
Table of Contents
Foreword, Mr. Justice S. Bokhary, Permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal; Introduction: Re-situating the Legal Case within the Humanities, Marco Wan; Part I Reading Cases in Interdisciplinary Studies of Law and Literature, Alan Durant; ‘I crave the law’: Salomon v Salomon (1897), uncanny personhood and the Jews, Christopher Hutton; Three Close-Ups in Search of Truth: Law, Cinema, Psychoanalysis, Maria Aristodemou; Everyday Law in the Court Writing of Sybille Bedford, Elaine Ho; Sir William Jones and the Translation of Law in India, Robert Young; The Illegality of Empire: Moral Evasion and Confusion of Historians and Literary Critics in their Reflections on The Impeachment Trial of Warren Hastings, Tony Carty; Part 2: The Making of Legal Cases and the Idea of Precedent in the Common Law, Thanos Zartaloudi ; On the Edge of Reason: Law at the Borderline, Janny Leung; ‘Stare Decisis in China? The Newly Enacted Guiding Case System’, Ping Yu and Seth Gurgel; Judging Judgment in Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Ease, Katherine Baxter; Part 3: The Dramatic Imagination and the Dream of Law, Paul Raffield; The Intellectual – Hamlet, Kenji Yoshino; ‘Stare Decisis, Binding Precedent, and Anthony Trollope’s The Eustace Diamonds’, Marco Wan; ‘Binding Precedent: Robert Louis Steven’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’, Scott Veitch.
Marco Wan is Assistant Professor of Law and Honorary Assistant Professor of English at the University of Hong Kong. He has published on literary trials in England and France, and on law and visuality in Hong Kong.