1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Law and Death

Edited By Marc Trabsky, Imogen Jones Copyright 2025
    386 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Handbook of Law and Death provides a comprehensive survey of contemporary scholarship on the intersections of law and death in the twenty-first century.

    It showcases how socio-legal scholars have contributed to the critical turn in death studies and how the sociology of death has impacted upon the discipline of law. In bringing together prominent academics and emerging experts from a diverse range of disciplines, the handbook shows how far from shunning questions of mortality, legal institutions incessantly talk about death. Touching upon the epistemologies and materialities of death, and problems of contested deaths and posthumous harms, the handbook questions what is distinctive about the disciplinary alignment of law and death, how law regulates and manages death in the everyday, and how thinking with law can enrich our understandings of the presence of death in our lives.

    In a time when the world is facing global inequalities in living and dying, and legal institutions are increasingly interrogating their relationships to death, this handbook makes for essential reading for scholars, students and practitioners in law, humanities and the social sciences.

    Law and Death: Mapping the Terrain 

    Marc Trabsky and Imogen Jones 

    Part 1: Epistemologies of Death 

    1. Cryptic Comments 

    Desmond Manderson 

    2. Beyond Denial: A Sociological Investigation of the Normative Order of Death 

    Zohreh BayatRizi 

    3. Another Law of the Dead? Legal Personhood, Death and Time in Anglo-Saxon Jurisprudence 

    James Martel 

    4. Deaths in the Mud: Law and Grievable Lives in Minas Gerais 

    Maria Fernanda Salcedo Repolês and Edward Kirton-Darling 

    5. Colonial Law as Nomocide 

    Maria Giannacopoulos 

    6. Thanatopolitics of Law 

    Marc Trabsky 

    Part 2: Materialities of Death 

    7. Humic Lawscapes 

    Joshua DM Shaw 

    8. The Grave as a Contested Space 

    Kate Falconer 

    9. The Role and Repercussions of Law in Contested Funerals and Contested Memorials 

    Heather Conway 

    10. Caring for the Dead: The Role of Anatomical Pathology Technologists in Medico-legal Autopsies 

    Imogen Jones 

    11. Sublime Executions and Material Affections: Law, Aesthetics, and the Death Penalty 

    Sabrina Gilani 

    Part 3: Contested Deaths 

    12. Coronial Investigations: Past Deaths and Future Lives 

    Jessica Jacobson, Alexandra Murray, Hannah Rumble and Lorna Templeton 

    13. Feedback Loops, Vulnerable Populations and the Coronial Determination of Suicide 

    Belinda Carpenter, Ella Tait and Claire Ferguson 

    14. Account-giving and the Justification of Racial Violence in Inquests of Black People Killed by Police 

    Carson Cole Arthur

    15. Contested Death and the Coronial Jurisdiction 

    Rebecca Scott Bray 

    16. Contested Deaths and the Public Inquiry in Healthcare: Where the Norm Becomes the Exception 

    Hamish Robertson, David J Carter and Joanne Travaglia 

    17. The Right to Life and Learning Lessons from Death 

    Stuart Wallace 

    Part 4: Posthumous Harms 

    18. Ambivalent Parallels in Registration and Certification of (Live) Birth, Stillbirth and Miscarriage 

    Karolina Kuberska and Sheelagh McGuinness 

    19. Posthumous Photographic Images 

    Remigius N Nwabueze 

    20. When Birth and Death Collide: Maternal Infanticide and the Illusive Born Alive Rule 

    Emma Milne 

    21. Corporate Homicide 

    Penny Crofts and Honni van Rijswijk 

    22. Killing as an Operation of the Civil Law: Two Examples of Roman Jurisprudence 

    Edward Mussawir 

    23. Death and the Challenges of Distant Affectivity: Liminal Narratives at the International Criminal Court 

    Caroline Fournet and Adina-Loredana Nistor


    Marc Trabsky is an Associate Professor at La Trobe University, Australia.

    Imogen Jones is an Associate Professor at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.