February 28, 2014

BBC To Air New Versions of "Partners In Crime" and "And Then There Were None" In 2015

The BBC has contracted with the Agatha Christie estate to bring new adaptations of the married couple whodunits Partners in Crime and the "locked room" (on an island) classic And Then There Were None to the small screen. David Walliams (Little Britain, Come Fly With Me, Britain's Got Talent) will star as Tommy Beresford in Partners in Crime, and in the new version of And Then There Were None. An earlier version of Partners in Crime made for ITV starred Francesca Annis and James Warwick and dramatized only book 2. Earlier versions of And Then There Were None include Rene Clair's 1945 film starring Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, and Louis Hayward, the CBS/Seven Arts/WB 1965 version starring Hugh O'Brian version (which uses the altered Christie title Ten Little Indians as well as And Then There Were None), and the 1974 version (also using the title Ten Little Indians) starring Charles Aznavour, Maria Rohm, and Adolfo Celli (Corona Filmproduktion).

More here from the Guardian, here from the Daily Telegraph.

February 27, 2014

A Forthcoming Conference On the Semiotics of Law (2015)

From Anne Wagner, Faculté de droit, Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale, announcement of a conference:

Synesthetic Legalities: Sensory Dimensions of Law and Jurisprudence The 16th International Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law (IRSL 2015) April 29-May 2, 2015 Hosted by the University of Hawai‘i Hilo Synesthesia is the phenomenon where sensual perceptions are joined together as a combined experience, i.e. the ability to feel color, hear the visual, or even smell emotion. These types of unions expand the normativity of our legal thinking, as the abilities to represent the tethering of emotion, place, and concept to law are magnified. Such sensory hybridity stimulates a potentially otherwise linear consciousness through the multilayered approach to planes, scopes, and atmospheres. When we synesthestically conceptualize various realms of law, such amalgamation offers creative insight into the complexities of how law works through our bodies, our hands, our ears, our eyes, our noses and tongues, and even in the places we inhabit. In this way, legal interpretation contributes to our understanding of how law works according to sensory input, sensory output, and the tethering that happens within these sensory unions. Particulars located in the layers of legal synesthesia semiotically generate a notion of law that challenges and transforms the legal semiotic beyond the visual to include the spatial, the temporal, the aural, the tangible, the culinary, and the olfactory. Drawing upon the Hawaiian cycle of A‘o that emphasizes a continual process of learning through teaching and teaching while learning, this roundtable will explore the richly complex manifestations of synesthesia and law in the following ways: • How does law stimulate our senses? • Constitutively, how do our senses stimulate law and jurisprudence? • How do we feel law? • How do we taste law? • How do we smell law? • How do we see law? • How do we hear law? • What sorts of combinations happens when we synesthetically and creatively approachperceptions of law, legal interpretation, legal consciousness, and legal culture?  The 16th International Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law invites further discussion into these and related questions and welcomes a plurality of approaches, including those of legal studies, philosophy, social science, linguistics, history, cultural studies, and the humanities.  Abstracts of 300 words (max.) can be submitted by December 1, 2014 to Sarah Marusek (Organizer)(marusek@hawaii.edu) and Anne Wagner (valwagnerfr@yahoo.com) with participation decisions made by January 1, 2015.  Selected papers will be invited for publication in a special issue of International Journal for the Semiotics of Law (Springer: http://www.springer.com/lawjournal11196) or edited volume.

February 26, 2014

Telling Abortion Stories

Michael Stokes Paulsen, University of St. Thomas School of Law, is publishing Kermit Gosnell and Uncle Tom's Cabin in the St. Thomas Journal of Law & Public Policy. Here is the abstract.

Stories persuade and illustrate in a way that pure logic does not. What Kermit Gosnell - the Butcher of Philadelphia - did is, in principle, no different from what any other abortionist does. This repulsive true crime story persuades and it is important for that reason. But the lesson we should draw from it – the logic of the parable, if you will – ought to be one about abortion and abortionists generally. The Kermit Gosnell story has the potential to function, for the anti-abortion movement, in much the same way that Harriet Beecher Stowe’s serialized novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, functioned for the anti-slavery movement more than 150 years ago. It persuades the mind by first moving the heart and wrenching the soul. Kermit Gosnell is today’s Simon Legree. But Gosnell is no composite fictional character. He is the real-life face and voice of Abortion.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

Eighteenth Century Lawyers On Stage

Simon Stern, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, has published William Blackstone: Courtroom Dramatist? in Re-Interpreting Blackstone's Commentaries: A Seminal Text in National and International Contexts (Wilfrid Prest, ed.; Oxford, Hart, 2014). Here is the abstract.

This book chapter discusses William Blackstone's role as a judge, in relation to accounts (such as Bentham's) that portrayed him as "formal, precise, and affected." Rather than evaluating legal performance, in the courtroom, by reference to binaries such as formal/informal, cautious/inquisitive, or stolid/creative, I argue that the success of a legal performance depends on the speaker (e.g., witness, lawyer, judge), the audience (e.g., jury, judge, public), and the subject (e.g., the prosecution’s motives, the defendant’s alibi, the majesty of the common law). To explore this idea, I look at eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century commentators who praised or criticized particular lawyers or judges (in the course of offering "strictures on the bar") by invoking the language of theatricality. As I show, this language was most prevalent in discussions of jury trials, and was often pointedly abandoned in discussions of purely legal arguments (e.g., arguments before appellate courts). The figures in question include William Garrow, Sir John Scott, Sir Francis Buller, and Richard Sheridan. I also consider portrayals of inarticulate lawyers on the eighteenth-century stage, arguing that for the most part, these portrayals make none of the distinctions suggested here, as to audience and subject, but instead simply treat this character as a figure of fun because he is incompetent to perform his task, whatever that task may be. I close by reconsidering a shorthand transcription of Blackstone's performance on the bench in the 1770 trial of Onslow v. Horne, arguing that his conduct comports with an emerging sense of what makes for a good legal argument -- namely, one that takes written explanation as the template for an effective style of oral presentation, and one that Blackstone's own Commentaries helped to promote.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link. 

February 24, 2014

Rap in Court

Charis E. Kubrin, University of California, Irvine, and Erik Nielson, University of Richmond, are publishing Rap on Trial in Race and Justice. Here is the abstract.

In criminal proceedings across the U.S., rap music lyrics are being introduced as evidence of a defendant’s guilt. In this essay we draw attention to this disturbing practice, what we call “rap on trial,” and explore its context, describe its elements and contours, and consider its broader significance. We first offer historical context, demonstrating that although the widespread use of rap lyrics in criminal trials may be a relatively recent phenomenon, it resides within a long tradition of antagonism between the legal establishment and hip hop culture, one that can be traced back to hip hop’s earliest roots. We then offer examples of recent cases in which rap music has been used as evidence in trials against amateur rappers, almost all of whom are young men of color, in order to illustrate the specific ways that prosecutors present the music to judges and juries, as well as to highlight the devastating effects it can have on defendants. In the final section, we consider the elements of rap music that leave it vulnerable to judicial abuse, as well as the artistic, racial, and legal ramifications of using this particular genre of music to put people in jail. We conclude with recommendations for further research in this area, pointing out specific areas where scholarship would most effectively expose what it means to put rap on trial.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

Football Rules

Howard M. Wasserman, Florida International University College of Law, has published Football and the Infield Fly Rule, at 61 UCLA L. Rev. Discourse 272 (2014). Here is the abstract.

In a previous article, I defended baseball’s infield fly rule, the special rule long beloved by legal scholars, in terms of equitable balance in distribution of costs and benefits between competing teams. This Essay applies those cost-benefit and equity insights to football. It explores several plays from recent Super Bowls, the cost-benefit balance on those plays, and the appropriate role in football for limiting rules similar to the infield fly rule.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

Did someone say "flies"?

Summer Institute on the Cultural Study of the Law, August 4-16, 2014

From Dr. Peter Schneck, Director and Chair of American Studies, University of Osnabrueck


* Contested Properties: Culture, Rights and the Humanities*

International Summer Institute on the Cultural Study of the Law

http://www.osi.uni-osnabrueck.de/ *Invitation*
 The fifth International Osnabrück Summer Institute on the Cultural Study of the Law will be held from August 4 to 16, 2014, at the University of Osnabrück, Germany. Hosted by the Institute of English and American Studies (IfAA), the Osnabrück Summer Institute seeks to bring together advanced graduate, doctoral, and postdoctoral students of the humanities and/or the law from around the world to promote and examine the interdisciplinary study and research of law and culture.
 During the two week program, students will partake in a unique experience of scholarly collaboration and exchange through workshops, public lectures, panel discussions, excursions and a final symposium. Participating faculty in this year's Summer Institute include:
 * Rosemary J. Coombe (York University, Toronto)
* Helle Porsdam (University of Copenhagen)
* Fiona Macmillan (Birkbeck School of Law, University of London)
* Karen-Margrethe Simonsen (Aarhus U)
* Joseph Slaughter (Columbia U)
* Leti Volpp (U of California, Berkeley)
 with more faculty to be announced in the upcoming weeks.
 The Institute will offer a total of four workshops for 20-30 international participants (doctoral, post-doctoral and advanced M.A. – see below for eligibility) over a two-week period. The first workshop will be concerned with basic theories, concepts and perspectives within the emerging field of cultural legal studies, focusing specifically on the range and potential of interdisciplinary studies and approaches. The remaining three workshops will focus on key areas of critical inquiry that have been central to the dynamic development of the field:
 * The tripartite relationship between culture, cultural rights, and the nation state
* The historical development and current debates about culture as heritage, property and as a resource and its legal definition and regulation (including concepts such as copyright, intellectual property and authorship)
* The cultural presence and representation of the law and the role of culture in the representation and dissemination of the concept of rights (e.g. law and literature, life writing and human rights, visual culture and rights rhetoric)
 *Participant Eligibility*
 The Summer Institute aims at advanced graduate, doctoral, and postdoctoral students from various academic fields whose research interests and projects are situated at the interface between law and the humanities and who are concerned with a better understanding of the interdependence of law and culture.
Even though the Institute strongly invites students from a broad variety of disciplines and academic backgrounds, it focuses almost exclusively on questions and issues related to research done in the humanities and legal studies.
Doctoral candidates in literature, the law, the arts, the humanities, and the related social sciences are invited to apply, as are advanced students pursuing a J.D. or its equivalent (such as the L.L.B). Young scholars or junior faculty members who have received a Ph.D. or corresponding degree in the last five years are also eligible. While applications by doctoral/post-doctoral students are prioritized, the Summer Institute also encourages applications from advanced Master students about to conclude their studies and with a strong interest in interdisciplinary research. There are openings for 20-30 students to participate in the Summer Institute.
Due to its international audience, the Summer Institute will be completely conducted in English. It does not offer language instruction classes, either in German or in English.
 *Application Process*
 Applicants should complete:
 * The application form on our website
There, they will have to upload
* A statement of purpose no more than two pages long, describing current scholarly interests, previous research, and plans for how the Summer Institute would specifically further these interests and plans.
* An up-to-date curriculum vitae.
 Students interested in taking part in the Summer Institute should submit their applications no later than March 15, 2014. Detailed information about the Institute, the workshops, international faculty, admission and fees can be found at:
 http://www.osi.uni-osnabrueck.de/ *Questions*
 Please direct all inquiries and questions to Dr. Sabine N. Meyer, the coordinator of the Osnabrück Summer Institute, at

"The People" In the Australian Constitution

Elisa Arcioni, University of Sydney Faculty of Law, has published That Vague But Powerful Abstraction: The Concept of ‘The People’ in the Constitution as Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 14/15. Here is the abstract.

The concept of ‘the people’ in the Australian Constitution is undoubtedly unfinished constitutional business. The concept is “vague” due to a lack of development by the High Court but also because it is an inherently fluid concept. Yet it is also “powerful” because of what ‘the people’ has come to signify, which is something that I suggest should be further developed by the High Court. There are two questions that I consider in this paper. The first is: who are ‘the people’? The second is: what impact do they have on our understanding of the Constitution and constitutional terms?
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

February 19, 2014

A June Conference Sponsored by the Law and Humanities Institute and the Thomas Jefferson School of Law

News of an Upcoming Conference

Revealing the Links Between Law and Magic
A Conference Sponsored by the Law and Humanities Law Institute and
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
June 6, 2014
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
1155 Island Avenue, San Diego CA 92101
Preliminary Information
This conference, co-sponsored by the Law and Humanities Institute (New York), and Thomas Jefferson School of Law (San Diego, CA), examines the many ways in which law and magic interact. Not only can the law influence the practice of magic, such as in the areas of freedom of speech and religion and intellectual property. Magic can also influence the law, such as in trial tactics and evidence. In addition, magic illuminates the crossroads of other law and humanities fields, such as the emerging area of law and neuroscience, rhetoric, and law and popular culture. Several of our panelists plan to include (magical!) demonstrations as part of their paper presentations.
Attendees will enjoy a full day on June 6 of panel presentations and discussions on IP, evidence, trial tactics, rhetoric, beginning at 8:30 and running until 5 p.m.
Some of our confirmed speakers and moderators include Sydney Beckman, Duncan College Of Law, Christine Corcos, Louisiana State University Law Center, F. Jay Dougherty, Loyola (Los Angeles), Law School, Paul Finkelman, Albany Law School, Pierre Fleury-Legros, Faculté de droit et des affaires internationales, Université du Havre, mentalist Curtis Frye, Jennifer Hagan, Hagan & Hagen, San Francisco, Annette Houlihan, St. Thomas University (Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada), Rob McQueen, Goldsmiths College, University Of London, Rostam Neuwirth, University Of Macao, Richard Weisberg, Cardozo Law School, and Julie Cromer Young, Thomas Jefferson School of Law. More information, including specific information about panels, CLE, and the conference hotel, will be available soon.
Date                June 6, 2014    7:30 a.m. (Registration and breakfast); 8:30 to 5 p.m.
                        Breakfast, snacks, lunch provided.

Place                Thomas Jefferson School of Law, 1155 Island Avenue, San Diego CA  92101

Call For Applications

Announcement From the Louisiana Bar Foundation

LBF Seeks 2014-16 Scholar-In-Residence
The Louisiana Bar Foundation (LBF) is accepting applications for a Scholar-In-Residence to serve for a two year term beginning in July 1, 2014.  A $7,500 honorarium will be paid to the Scholar-In-Residence as consideration for his/her work product.

Over the term of the appointment, the scholar shall produce for publication a scholarly quality written contribution on a subject and in a form agreed upon with the LBF, such as a law review article, book, booklet, essay, or other legal publication, including film, television projects, etc., suitable for the intended LBF purpose.
The general purpose of the Scholar in Residence appointment is to incorporate an academic and scholarly dimension to the LBF’s overall efforts of preserving, honoring, and improving our system of justice by funding and otherwise promoting efforts that enhance the legal profession, increase public understanding of the legal system, and advance the reality of equal justice under the law.  The Scholar in Residence appointment is intended to enrich the academic and intellectual perspective of the LBF’s efforts, to enhance the Foundation’s overall educational program, and to support legal education in Louisiana by bringing the practicing bar and Louisiana’s law schools closer together.
Applicants are asked to submit a specific proposal.  Proposals should include: Topic, prospectus, suggested format, proposed time-line, and applicant's qualifications.  Applications must be received by April 30, 2014 and are to be sent to:
Louisiana Bar FoundationEducation Committee1615 Poydras Street, Ste. 1000New Orleans, LA   70112Fax:  (504) 566-1926E-mail:  dennette@raisingthebar.org
If you have questions, please direct them to: Dennette L. Young at the Louisiana Bar Foundation by e-mail at dennette@raisingthebar.org or by phone at (504) 561-1046.

Mary Wollstonecraft's View of Independence

Alan M. S. J. Coffee, King's College London School of Law, is publishing Freedom as Independence: Mary Wollstonecraft and the Grand Blessing of Life in Hypatia. Here is the abstract.

Independence is a central and recurring theme in Mary Wollstonecraft’s work. Independence should not be understood as an individualistic ideal that is in tension with the value of community but as an essential ingredient in successful and flourishing social relationships. I examine three aspects of this rich and complex concept that Wollstonecraft draws on as she develops her own notion of independence as a powerful feminist tool. First, independence is an egalitarian ideal that requires that all individuals, regardless of sex, be protected to a comparable extent in all areas of social, political, and economic life, no matter whether this is in the public or private sphere. Second, so long as this egalitarian condition is not compromised, independence allows for individuals to perform differentiated social roles, including along gendered lines. Finally, the ongoing and collective input of both women and men is required to ensure that the conditions necessary for social independence are maintained. In Wollstonecraft’s hands, then, independence is a powerful ideal that allows her to argue that women must be able to act on their own terms as social and political equals, doing so as women whose perspectives and interests may differ from men’s.
Download the text of the article from SSRN at the link. 

Fashion, Form, and Public Order

In case you missed it:

Gary Watt, Dress, Law and Naked Truth: A Cultural Study of Fashion and Form (London, Bloomsbury Academic, 2013).

From the publisher's website:

Why are civil authorities in so-called liberal democracies affronted by public nudity and the Islamic full-face ‘veil’? Why are law and civil order so closely associated with robes, gowns, suits, wigs and uniforms? Why is law so concerned with the ‘evident’ and the need for justice to be ‘seen’ to be done? Why do we dress and obey dress codes at all? In this, the first ever study devoted to the many deep cultural connections between dress and law, the author addresses these questions and more. His responses flow from the radical thesis that ‘law is dress and dress is law’. 
Engaging with sources from The Epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare, Carlyle, Dickens and Damien Hirst, Professor Watt draws a revealing history of dress and civil order and offers challenging conclusions about the nature of truth and the potential for individuals to fit within the forms of civil life.

Adultery and Prostitution In Ottoman and Jewish Law, 1700-1900

Leah Bornstein-Makovetsky, Ariel University, is publishing Ottoman and Jewish Authorities Facing Issues of Prostitution and Adultery: 1700-1900, in the International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family. Here is the abstract.

The purpose of the present paper is to discuss the ways in which the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ottoman authorities, on the one hand, and Jewish community leaders (secular leaders) and Jewish legal authorities (dayanim), on the other, handled cases of adultery and fornication among Jews. 
Ottoman society between 1700-1900 was a religious society, and therefore all members of the Jewish communities were subject to the Jewish communal organization and committed to the observance of Jewish law. Jewish communities in the Ottoman Empire had ways to force their members to obey Jewish sexual morality laws. Jewish communities had to address in the Jewish courts, most of the problems of Jewish society, including moral issues, both serious and minor.
They used for this purpose all means available to them, including turning to the Ottoman authorities. Jewish law, in contrast to Islamic law, differentiates between the concepts of "adultery" and "fornication". For this and other reasons, the Jewish authorities preferred to resolve such cases on their own, and only when there was no alternative would they turn over those accused to the Ottoman authorities -- Muslim courts and governors. Most Jewish women in the Ottoman Empire suspected of adultery during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were not denounced by the Jewish courts ( as adulterers. In cases in which adultery by the wife was certain, Jewish dayanim and community leaders insisted that the husband divorce his wife, without submitting the woman to any other form of punishment. In extreme cases when the husband insisted on staying with his adulterous wife, the dayanim and the community leaders turned him over to Muslim courts or to Ottoman authorities. In such cases the Jewish courts did not keep the matter secret. The handing over of adulterers to Ottoman authorities took place also when the accused couple refused to comply with the orders of the Jewish court, or when a report from the Jewish community came to the attention of the non-Jews. In some cases, individuals appealed directly to the Ottoman authorities with the request that Jewish adulterers be punished. When they were turned over, Jewish adulterers, men and women, were frequently punished by a Muslim court or by Ottoman governors and their subordinates according to Islamic law. The regular punishments were brutal lashes, exile and fine. The overall incidence of sexual offenses as a basis for divorce was quite low in Jewish communities throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It appears that among the reasons adduced for divorce, adultery, prostitution and ill repute accounted for only 2-5% of the cases. It appears that sexual relations between unmarried men and women was more common than adultery. The Jewish authorities were asked to intervene only in problematic cases, such as those involving a man's refusal to marry the mother of his future child, or instances in which someone complained in the Jewish court or before the commissioners of offences that the woman was a fornicator.
Extant sources inform us that problems of low-level sexual immorality came up even in the most conservative communities, such as Aleppo. Under these circumstances, some communities enacted modesty rules and regulations. Jewish legal authorities -- dayanim and Jewish law deciders (posekim) were called upon to address the issue of the status of children born as a result of extramarital relations. In general, children begotten by unmarried couples did not pose a Halakhic problem because they were considered legal according to Jewish law and were not considered bastards (Mamzer) Very few cases are attested in which the father’s name was not available. Once born, the child in such a case would be referred to as "shtoki" among the Jews and was only permitted to marry a convert or a slave who had been freed from bondage. Extramarital pregnancy did not necessarily lead to punishment for unmarried women in Jewish society. Cases of this type were typically not turned over to the Ottoman authorities; rarely were children born of adulterous unions declared bastards in Jewish society.
The full text is not available for download from SSRN.

Legal Theory and Political Philosophy

William A. Edmundson, Georgia State University College of Law, has published Why Legal Theory is Political Philosophy at 19 Legal Theory 1 (2014).

This article is part of a symposium issue on Scott Shapiro's book, Legality. It explores the question whether Shapiro's "moral aim" functionalism about the nature of law brings him into conflict with his own commitment to legal positivism. The article points out the role "framing judgments" must play in working out moral-aim functionalism. Framing judgments state the necessary conditions of pursuing a moral aim, as contrasted to perhaps simply pretending to. As such, framing judgments determine whether an institution structured as a "self-certifying, compulsory, comprehensive planning institution" also in fact pursues a moral aim. Determining whether an institution pursues a moral aim, or not, does not require delivering a verdict on its moral worth. But it does require setting out at least the rudiments of a theory of political legitimacy, and a theory of political legitimacy belongs to political philosophy. Thus, in this crucial respect, legal theory is political philosophy.
The article also explores the relation between the concept of a legal institution, and the concept of legal content. Drawing upon, but also critiquing, recent work by David Plunkett, the article challenges the widely assumed primacy of the concept of legal institution over that of legal content. If this challenge is successful, it makes trouble for those, like Shapiro, who want to be moral-aim functionalists about the concept of legal institution, while remaining legal positivists about the concept of legal content. If a moral aim certifies an otherwise-qualified institution as legal, it is conceivable that the legality of the norms it generates is to be certified solely by reference to their institutional source. A norm might be a legal norm regardless of any aim it could be said to have in itself. What, then, of customary law? That is, norms that count as legal despite lacking an institutional source? A moral-aim functionalist about legal institutions, who insists on a source-based test of legal content, has either to deny that there are customary laws, strictly speaking, or to face the question: how to distinguish mere custom from customary law? If (by parallel) a moral-aim differentiam of customary legal norm is admitted, then the theory is no longer a legal positivism about legal norms.
The full text is not available from SSRN.

February 18, 2014

The Assertion of Rights: Guatemala's Marlin Mine Conflict, 2005-2011

Anabella Sibrián, International Platform Against Impunity, and Chris Van der Borgh, Utrecht University, have published La Criminalidad de los Derechos: La Resistencia a la Mina Marlin (The Criminality of Rights: The Resistance to the Marlin Mine) at 4 Oñati Socio-Legal Series 63 (2014). Here are two abstracts, one in Spanish and one in English. The article is in Spanish.

Este ensayo desarrolla diferentes estadios de resistencia y criminalización de grupos comunitarios opuestos a la Mina Marlin en Guatemala, entre 2005 y 2011. Éste es uno de los primeros conflictos relacionados con la defensa de territorios indígenas frente a intereses empresariales que tiene lugar después de la firma de los Acuerdos de Paz de 1996; acto simbólico que cerraba un periodo de tres décadas de terror y crímenes de lesa humanidad. El argumento central es que este conflicto puede ser visto como un jardín experimental, tanto desde la perspectiva de los pueblos indígenas como desde aquélla de los actores que han buscado neutralizar o hasta quebrar la resistencia, en un contexto de presencia selectiva del Estado.

This essay develops different stages of resistance and criminalization of communities and their members acting in opposition to the Marlin Mine in Guatemala between 2005 and 2011. This has been one of the first conflicts related to the defence of indigenous territories facing business interests, after signing the Peace Agreements of 1996; symbolic act that closed a period of three decades of terror and crimes against humanity. The central argument is that this conflict can be seen as an experimental garden from both, indigenous people perspective and the perspective of actors seeking neutralize or break the resistance, in a context of selective presence of the State.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. See also other articles of interest in this issue, including Fabien Le Bonniec, Las Cárceles de la Etnicidad: Experiencias y Prácticas de Resistencia de los Mapuche Sometidos a la Violencia Política en la Era del Multiculturalismo (2000-2010) (Prisons of ethnicity: Experiences and Practices of the Mapuche Resistance Subjected to ...).

Call For papers: NoFo

From Monica Lopez Lerma, Coeditor-in-Chief, No Foundations, comes a call for papers for its 11th issue.

No Foundations is currently accepting general submissions for NoFo 11 (June 2014). Please submit abstracts of no more than 200 words.
Closing date: 15 March 2013.
 No Foundations is an international peer-reviewed journal committed to publishing interdisciplinary legal scholarship of the highest quality at the interface between law and justice. We encourage contributions from all areas of law and beyond, with the aim of bridging the gap once opened between law and other social and human activities and experiences. On the assumption that law is a socially embedded phenomenon that cannot be fully understood as an autonomous discipline, we aim to connect law both with its real effects on the lives of individuals and societies, and with the realm of human aspirations and ideals that give it life and meaning.
 For more information check: http://www.helsinki.fi/nofo/

February 17, 2014

Call For Papers: Critical Legal Conference 2014 at the University of Sussex

Call For Papers


4-6 September 2014

Call for Papers

Conference Theme:
By ‘Power, Capital, Chaos’, we refer to a context of ongoing global economic crisis, the neo-liberal destruction of social democracy and the ever-widening entrenchment of inequalities of wealth, power and technology within and between a global ‘North’ and global ‘South’. A contemporary political situation marked by austerity and privatisation, by security and responsibility, by racist political reaction, class-war and gender-domination.
Yet, this is also a situation marked by manifold acts of protest, struggle, occupation, riot and revolution. All of which demand the reimaging of social, political, juridical and material life. These are modes of resistance that call-out disparate and conflicting visions of the ‘public good’, ‘human dignity’ and ‘justice’. Equally these involve legal and political claims to knowledge which exist within and contend with a late-modern context of endless critique, scepticism and disagreement. As such, the contemporary theorisation of ‘power’ and ‘capital’ involves critical thought’s confrontation with a certain ‘chaos’ of reason and unreason.
Conference participants are asked to consider how we might attempt to understand, explain and respond to a chaotic contemporary political situation? You are invited to do so on the lovely campus of the University of Sussex set in the chalky South Downs of South-East England. In this respect, one context of the CLC 2014 is the city of Brighton and Hove, which carries on a long tradition of pleasure and distraction. In another, the context is the University of Sussex which holds onto both a radical intellectual tradition and a tradition of radical student protest.
We ask you to make your own interpretation of the theme ‘Power, Capital, Chaos’, and invite scholars from a range of disciplines to propose papers and streams. Traditionally the Critical Legal Conference is a friendly and interdisciplinary conference bringing together scholars from a wide body of disciplines.

Proposals should consist of a short abstract (max. 250 words).
Deadline for Stream Proposals:          31 March, 2014
Deadline for Paper Proposals:            30 June, 2014

Plenary Speakers:
Mark Devenney (University of Brighton)       Maria Drakopoulou (University of Kent)
Denise Ferreira da Silva (Queen Mary)         Mark Neocleous (Brunel University)
Louiza Odysseos (University of Sussex)          Nina Power (University of Roehampton)

The CLC 2014 is hosted by the Sussex Law School, and by the School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.
For stream proposals, paper proposals and general information please contact:
Kimberley Brayson or Tarik Kochi: clc2014@sussex.ac.uk

Conference Fees, including conference dinner, drinks reception, lunch and refreshments:
Early-Bird Registration (by 31 July 2014):      £180
Late Registration:                                           £200
Reduced Rate (postgraduate):                        £100

For further information see the Conference Website:

February 11, 2014

The Meaning of "Griggs"

David J. Garrow, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, has published Toward a Definitive History of Griggs v. Duke Power Co. at 67 Vanderbilt Law Review 197 (2014). Here is the abstract. 

When Griggs v. Duke Power Co. was unanimously handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 8, 1971, the decision did not draw prominent headlines. However, knowledgeable judges, scholars, and litigators quickly acknowledged how Griggs, a case involving employment discrimination, actually had an import far beyond several more historically notable rulings that likewise were handed down during the first six months of that year.
Yet the high regard in which some jurists, law professors, and lawyers held Griggs did not mean — just as on the day it first came down — that the case was significantly memorialized far and wide. Perhaps the best and most fully informed scholarly history of the Burger Court, which handed down the Griggs landmark decision and which was written by the late Bernard Schwartz, never even once mentions Griggs. The best-known biographies of the Justices who heard the case likewise without exception fail to ever mention it.
Indeed, despite the best efforts of an energetic and enterprising journalist covering Griggs’s twentieth anniversary to plumb historians’ interest in the case, a complaint from this Essay’s author summed up his findings: “Even though Griggs is a huge touchstone, there’s little history about it.” And so, this author was extremely pleased to discover Professor Robert Belton’s almost definitive history of early employment equality litigation, The Crusade for Equality in the Workplace. Belton’s posthumously published work encompasses not only Griggs’s own particular story but also all of the related developments and litigation concerning Title VII from the 1960s on through the 1990s. With enlightenment from Benton’s thorough account, this review essay examines the Griggs case and the surrounding issues.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

February 10, 2014

Call For Papers: The Politics of Legality in a Neo-Liberal Age

From Dr Ben Golder, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, The University of New South Wales, an announcement of a forthcoming symposium:
The Politics of Legality in a Neo-liberal Age

This symposium will examine the nexus between the political dominance of liberal legal ideas and the economic dominance of neo-liberal capitalism.According to classical liberal theory the state is legitimate to the extent that it respects legality.  The idea that the state should respect individual rights and the rule of law continues to have considerable purchase on our political discourse: the language of human rights is used by NGOs to criticise state violence, and by the same states to justify the violence of military interventions; those concerned with the legal response to terrorism often invoke the rule of law to criticise the expansion of powers for the executive branch of government; while the very same executive pays meticulous attention to justifying actions such as torture in legal terms.  Indeed, law is so central to the contemporary political imagination that the theorist Norberto Bobbio has dubbed our time the ‘age of rights’.  Economically, however, the age in which we live is that of neo-liberal capitalism.  The critique of the regulatory state and the advocacy of the ‘free market’ developed by neo-liberal thinkers such as Frederich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Ludwig von Mises have had a serious impact on practices of government over the last 30 years.  Indeed, it has been argued that neo-liberalism has played a major role in the concentration of economic power in this time, profoundly influencing the policies that have shaped the course of economic globalisation; those that led to Global Financial Crisis of 2008; and the politics of austerity that has characterised the state response to this crisis in the US and the EU.

Neo-liberalism is not, however, simply an economic theory but a political philosophy that has legality at its core, defining itself against the regulatory state for violating individual liberty and advocating private property rights and a certain vision of the rule of law as crucial to the functioning of capitalist economies.  The rule of law has also been central to the processes of neo-liberal globalisation with ‘rule of law promotion’ playing a crucial role in developing markets in the global South.  And, while human rights are often used as tools for political critique and resistance, the historian Samuel Moyn has illustrated that the language of human rights has colonised political discourse since the late 1970s.  This is the very same period in which neo-liberalism has restructured the relationship between economy and society and state, raising the question of whether there is a relationship between these two phenomena.

An understanding of the contemporary political conjuncture, and the possibilities for its transformation, demands an analysis of the relationship between liberal legality and the current hegemony of neo-liberal capitalism. This symposium will address this conjuncture through papers which engage, among a range of other possibilities, the following themes and topics:-          What is neo-liberalism (a radical economic theory, a political philosophy, a governmental practice, a theory of the enterprising subject, a mutation in the history of liberalism)? How can we best understand and historicize the concept, and what set of theoretical analyses best sheds light on its contemporary operations?
-          What transformations has the neo-liberal era wrought to the state, its function, its operation, its ideological mode of presentation and legitimation?
-          What role specifically do law and legal ideas perform in undergirding and reinforcing neo-liberalism as a political and economic project?
-          What is the relationship between the critique of totalitarianism and the ideological defence of neo-liberalism? How can we think differently about the relation between state repression and the neo-liberal economic project?
-          How does the discourse surrounding the ‘rule of law’ and its promotion, especially in the global South, reinforce neo-liberalism? How might the rule of law, or aspects of the rule of law tradition, interrupt or restrain neo-liberal capitalism?
-          What is the relation between the discourse of human rights and neo-liberalism – historically, conceptually, and politically? How do human rights actors and institutions recreate (or oppose) neo-liberal hegemony?
-          What critical or emancipatory purchase, if any, do traditional liberal legal ideas (such as accountability, the separation of the political and the economic, the restraint of arbitrary power) still have in a neo-liberal context?
-          What relevance do the classic critiques of these liberal legal ideas (of legal objectivity and neutrality, of formalism, and of the commodity form in particular, etc.) have to our neo-liberal present? Do they perform the same work? What work might they do? How might we reframe or update them to take account of changed political-economic circumstances?
-          What prospects are there for legal resistance to contemporary forms of neo-liberalism? What might a strategic left response to neo-liberalism look like – a defence of the protections of the welfare state, or the creation of something new?
The symposium will take place over 2 days at the University of New South Wales Law School, Sydney, Australia on 1 and 2 August 2014. We invite paper proposals on any of the above, or related, themes. If you wish to discuss your proposed paper with the convenors in advance please email either Dr Ben Golder (b.golder@unsw.edu.au) or Dr Daniel McLoughlin (daniel.mcloughlin@unsw.edu.au).

Procedure: Please email a 300 word abstract, 75 word bio and your institutional affiliation (if appropriate) to b.golder@unsw.edu.au by 28 March with the email subject line: ‘Neo-liberalism and law symposium’. We regret that only a limited number of papers can be selected for this symposium.

Publication Plans: Whilst we do not require full length papers in advance of the symposium, the aim of our meeting is to work towards the publication of selected papers in an edited volume. Initial negotiations with interested publishers are already underway. 

Tax Lawyers and Popular Culture

Fiona Alpins, who is a Deputy President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and a member of the Victorian Bar, gave this talk on June 4, 2013 at the Tax Bar Association dinner in honor of the Honorable Justice Kerr. All about tax lawyers and tax law in popular culture.

If you want to read more about tax law and tax lawyers in pop culture, check out the following short (and by no means exhaustive) bibliography.

Paul L. Caron, Tax Myopia, or Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Tax Lawyers, 13 Virginia Tax Review 517 (1994), at 527-530.

Erik M. Jensen, The Heroic Nature of Tax Lawyers, 140 U. Pa. L. Rev 367 (1991). Reprinted in 54 Tax Notes 1557 (1992).

Debra Cassens Weiss, Tax Profs' Movie Recommendations For Law Students, ABA Journal, Mar. 10, 2009, at http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/tax_profs_movie_recommendations_for_law_students/.

Lawrence Zelenak, Six Decades of the Federal Income Tax in Sitcoms, 117 Tax Notes 1265 (2007).

Thoughts? Comments? Additions? cheerfully accepted (no snark, please).

Papke On Pop Culture Divorce Lawyers

David Ray Papke, Marquette University Law School, has published Comedic Critique: The Pop Cultural Divorce Lawyer. Here is the abstract.

This essay discusses pop cultural divorce lawyers, focusing in particular on the lawyer Arnie Becker in L.A. Law (NBC, 1986-94) and on divorce lawyers in such Hollywood films as War of the Roses (1996), Liar Liar (1997), and Intolerable Cruelty (2003). The portrayals are largely comedic, but the comedy has a sharp bite. Pop cultural divorce lawyers emerge as manipulative, conniving, materialistic, self-interested, lusty, and narcissistic. The prototypical portrayal, the culture industry assumes in an unreflective, unsystematic way, will resonate with viewers and, in particular, their attitudes about divorce lawyers. Commercial success, after all, is always the industry’s first goal.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

Another section of the PCBA (Popular Culture Bar Association) identified.

February 4, 2014

Non-Legal Sources of Copyright Law

Isabella Alexander, University of Technology, Sydney, Faculty of Law, has published A Map, a Poem and Two Copyright Statutes as 2013 ANZLH E-Journal Refereed Paper No. 5. Here is the abstract.

This paper forms part of a forum made up of papers delivered at the 'Law, History, Culture: Reading Sources' workshop, held at the UTS Faculty of Law on 26 July 2013. The paper examines three sources: a map of John Seller, a poem by Jonathan Swift, and two copyright statutes of the eighteenth century and considers what light the non-legal sources throw upon the legal sources and what they can tell us about the early development of copyright law.
Download the full text of the paper from SSRN at the link. 

February 3, 2014

Orwell's Legal Theory in "1984"

Nicolás López Pérez, University of Chile School of Law, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, has published Dystopias and Legal Theory: A View from Orwell's 1984. Here is the abstract.

This essay will focus on the society that Orwell tries to build with the story and how he denotes a legal system that could be analyzed by the legal theory, principally with methodological tools situated in the analytical jurisprudence. For this purpose, I will divide the essay in two axis: first, a brief synthesis of the book with its main features, then identify elements related to society and Law studies, and answer: why “1984” is a subject of analysis; second, the sketch of the semantics and the discursivity of some important concepts for legal theory as State, Legal System, Authority, and Morality, present in the Orwell’s work with the appropriate discussion in analytical jurisprudence, principally with Raz’s works.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.