1st Edition

Time, Temporality and Legal Judgment

By Tanzil Chowdhury Copyright 2020
    172 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    172 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book challenges the correspondence theory of judicial fact construction – that legal rules resemble and subsume facts ‘out there’ – and instead provides an account of judicial fact construction through legally produced times- or adjudicative temporalities- that structure legal subject and event formation in legal judgement.

    Drawing on Bergsonian and Gadamerian theories of time, this book details how certain adjudicative temporalities can produce fully willed and autonomous subjects through ‘time framed’ legal events – in effect, the paradigmatic liberal legal subject – or how alternative adjudicative temporalities may structure legal subjects that are situated and constituted by social structures. The consequences of this novel account of legal judgement are fourfold. The first is that judicial fact construction is not exclusively determined by the legal rule (s) but by adjudication’s production of temporalities. The second is that the selection between different adjudicative temporalities is generally indeterminate, though influenced by wider social structures. As will be argued, social structures, framed as a particular type of past produced by certain adjudicative temporalities, may either be incorporated in the rendering of the legal event or elided. The third is that, with the book’s focus on criminal law, different deployments of adjudicative temporalities effect responsibility ascription. Finally, it is argued that the demystification of time as that which structures event and subject formation reveals another way in which to uncover the politics of legal judgement and the potential for its transformative potential, through either its inclusion or its elision of social structures in adjudication’s determination of facts.

    This book will be of interest to students and scholars in the field of legal judgement, legal theory and jurisprudence.



    Chapter 1- The Polytemporalities of Law

    Chapter 2- Times Past and Future and the Forms of Adjudicative Temporalities

    Chapter 3- The Temporalities of Abstract Legal Judgment

    Chapter 4- The Temporalities of Concrete Legal Judgment

    Chapter 5- Adjudicative Temporalities and Judicial Fact Construction: A Case Law Analysis

    Concluding Remarks


    Tanzil Chowdhury is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) In Public Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context at Queen Mary, University of London

    "In this theoretically rich, doctrinally grounded, and timely book, Chowdhury offers original and juridico-politically generative reflections on adjudication and its temporalities, legal facts, and legal subjectivity. Drawing from and substantially advancing critical legal and realist scepticism about the centrality of rules in adjudication, Chowdhury establishes the significance of different conceptions of time in judicial practice. This book will be indispensable to anyone thinking about how law shapes time and what are the stakes of legal temporalities." 

    Dr Ntina Tzouvala  Senior Lecturer, ANU College of Law 

    "Tanzil Chowdhury shows in this rich and engaging book that legal facts are not just part of the mundane architecture of judicially determined cases, they are alive, active, temporalising and highly political. Dr Chowdhury's contribution to literatures on law and time is to break open the mechanisms of adjudication to greater scrutiny and refuse to allow us to turn away from the epistemological and political work they do. His argument not only challenges modern concepts of time as they are patterned through law and public life, it also deepens our understanding of judicial adjudication as means of both constituting and solving conflicts and problems."

    Emily Grabham  Professor of Law, University of Kent

    "In Time, Temporality and Legal Judgement, Tanzil Chowdhury offers a compelling account of what he terms ‘adjudicative temporalities.’ Moving away from legal rules, he analyzes how judges create legal facts through particular temporalities. Building on and expanding the philosophical insights of Gadamer, Bergson, and Grosz, and grounding his analysis in the well-known case of Kiranjit Ahluwalia, Chowdhury offers an innovative and erudite account of the way judges determine legal events and legal subjectivities, and how their temporal impositions have a determining effect on legal responsibility. This is a must read for anyone interested in law, time, and jurisprudence."

    Renisa Mawani  Professor of Sociology, University of British Columbia