The Analysis of Legal Cases : A Narrative Approach book cover
1st Edition

The Analysis of Legal Cases
A Narrative Approach

ISBN 9780415788939
Published July 23, 2019 by Routledge
322 Pages

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Book Description

This book examines the roles played by narrative and culture in the construction of legal cases and their resolution. It is articulated in two parts. Part I recalls epistemological turns in legal thinking as it moves from theory to practice in order to show how facts are constructed within the legal process. By combining interdisciplinary paradigms and methods, the work analyses the evolution of facts from their expression by the client to their translation within the lawyer-client relationship and the subsequent decision of the judge, focusing on the dynamic activity of narrative construction among the key actors: client, lawyer and judge. Part II expands the scientific framework toward a law-and-culture-oriented perspective, illustrating how legal stories come about in the fabric of the authentic dimensions of everyday life. The book stresses the capacity of laypeople, who in this activity are equated with clients, to shape the law, dealing not just with formal rules, but also with implicit or customary rules, in given contexts. By including the illustration of cases concerning vulnerable clients, it lays the foundations for developing a socio-clinical research programme, whose aims including enabling lay and expert actors to meet for the purposes of improving forms of collective narrations and generating more just legal systems.

Table of Contents




Introduction: why adopt a narrative approach to law?


Theoretical and methodological frameworks

1 Culture, narrative and law

2 The narrative turn in the legal field

3 Fact construction: contexts, roles and methods


Trajectories of case analysis

Section I – Fact construction

4 Rediscovering the role of the client

5 The lawyer as translator

6 The judge as a creative decision maker

Section II – Narratives in cultural contexts

7 Laypeople in action I: natives’ stories

8 Laypeople in action II: foreigners’ stories

Section III – Improving justice for vulnerable people

9 Collaborative lawyering with vulnerable clients: asylum

seekers’ stories

Conclusions: moving towards new directions of

narrative theory and clinical legal research


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Flora Di Donato is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Law, at the Federico II University of Naples, where she teaches Clinical Legal Education (Formazione Clinico-Legale). Her research focuses on the analysis of the law in real life and the contribution of laypeople in constructing the meanings of the law. In 2010, she was awarded the Annual RCSL Adam Podgórecki (ISA) Prize "for her outstanding achievements as an emerging scholar in socio-legal research". She has been a lecturer, a research fellow and a visiting scholar in several different Italian, Swiss and USA universities.