19 September 2013

Article: Gilbert and Sullivan for Lawyers

Article: Kruger on Gilbert and Sullivan for Lawyers

Stephen Kruger's "Gilbert and Sullivan for Lawyers" in the Philosophy of Law eJournal (2013) is now available on SSRN.

One of the songs in The Mikado, by Gilbert and Sullivan, is “As Some Day It May Happen That a Victim Must be Found.” In the song, Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner, offers his list of Victorian “society offenders . . . who never would be missed.”

Usual practice, in present-day performances, is to update “As Some Day It May Happen” by mentions of present-day society offenders. The aim of an update is to make the song comprehensible by present-day audiences.

This essay offers an update of “As Some Day It May Happen,” with both legal references and social references. Among the legal references is, “And law profs who convey as truth the lies of Marbury.” Other legal references aren’t better.

In addition, this essay offers an update, with both legal references and social references, of “I Am the Very Model of a Modern General,” from The Pirates of Penzance, also by Gilbert and Sullivan. The legal references, such as to court-packing (Legal Tender Cases; President Roosevelt), should be, but are not, teachable moments.

17 September 2013

SEMINAR: Authority in a Transnational Age


8-9 November 2013/A Modern Law Review Seminar

Hosted by the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London

Photo Credit: Alicja RogalskaContemporary jurisprudence – and legal scholarship and legal education more generally – is currently under serious challenge from the emergence of arguably new legal phenomena at the non-state or transnational level. This challenge is both substantive and methodological. Substantively, legal scholars are being confronted with, and asked to explain, phenomena which cannot easily be explained by theories which put the sovereign state at the centre. Such phenomena include internet regulation and the new lex mercatoria. New jurisprudential problems are also raised by the growth of transnational communities, which bring with them a variety of different legal traditions and understandings. Methodologically, in this context, traditional conceptual analysis is arguably ever more in need of being informed by empirical analysis – for the old concepts, and their universalistic tendencies, are being criticised as inadequate.

CONFERENCE (Deadline Extended): The Dynamics of Legal Development - Family & Succession Law

There is still limited space available in the workshops of the three day conference on “The Dynamics of Legal Development - Family & Succession Law” hosted by the Max-Planck-Institute for Comparative and International Private Law (Hamburg) from 17-19 October 2013.

The registration deadline has been extended to October 1, 2013.

The dynamics of legal development will be traced through lectures on the national laws of selected Islamic countries and workshops, in which the main actors of legal development will be examined in detail. Additionally, the findings of the research conducted by the Max Planck Research Group "Changes in God’s Law ­– An Inner Islamic Comparison of Family and Succession Law" established at the Institute in April 2009 will be presented to the audience. The language of the conference is English.

BOOK: Human Rights under State-enforced Religious Family Laws in Israel, Egypt and India

Cambridge University Press (CUP) has published Yüksel Sezgin’s Human Rights under State-enforced Religious Family Laws in Israel, Egypt and India. In a nutshell, the book looks at impacts of state-enforced (pluri-legal) religious family laws on human/women’s rights in Israel, Egypt and India, and identifies resistance strategies successfully mobilized by rights activists in these jurisdictions:

About one-third of the world's population currently lives under pluri-legal systems where governments hold individuals subject to the purview of ethno-religious rather than national norms in respect to family law. How does the state-enforcement of these religious family laws impact fundamental rights and liberties? What resistance strategies do people employ in order to overcome the disabilities and limitations these religious laws impose upon their rights? Based on archival research, court observations and interviews with individuals from three countries, Yüksel Sezgin shows that governments have often intervened in order to impress a particular image of subjectivity upon a society, while people have constantly challenged the interpretive monopoly of courts and state-sanctioned religious institutions, re-negotiated their rights and duties under the law, and changed the system from within. He also identifies key lessons and best practices for the integration of universal human rights principles into religious legal systems.

The Table of Contents includes:

1. Introduction
2. Personal status, nation-building, and the postcolonial state
3. The impact of state-enforced personal status laws on human rights
4. A fragmented confessional system: state-enforced religious family laws and human rights in Israel
5. A unified confessional system: state-enforced religious family laws and human rights in Egypt
6. A unified semi-confessional system: state-enforced religious family laws and human rights in India
7. Conclusion: upholding human rights under religious legal systems.

Note that there is a discount code (SEZGIN13) if you order the book from CUP.

All royalties are donated to the UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Peer Production, Disruption and the Law

Journal of Peer Production - New perspectives on the implications of peer production for social changePEER PRODUCTION, DISRUPTION AND THE LAW

Editors: Steve Collins, Macquarie University and Angela Daly, Swinburne University of Technology
The disruption caused by new technologies and non-conventional methods of organisation have posed challenges for the law, confronting regulators with the need to balance justice with powerful interests. Experience from the “disruptions” of the late 20th century has shown that the response from incumbent industries can lead to a period of intense litigation and lobbying for laws that will maintain the status quo. For example, following its “Napster moment”, the music industry fought to maintain its grip on distribution channels through increased copyright enforcement and the longer copyright terms it managed to extract from the legislative process. The newspaper industry has similarly seen its historical revenue stream of classified ads disrupted by more efficient online listings, and responded to its own failure to capitalise on online advertising by launching legal campaigns against Google News in various European countries.
Though the law as it stands may not be well-equipped to deal with disruptive episodes, the technological innovations of the last twenty years have created an environment that generates disruption. The Internet, the Web and networked personal computers have converged into the ubiquitous post-PC media device, leaving twentieth century paradigms of production, consumption and distribution under considerable threat. The latest technology to be added to this group of disruptive innovations may be 3D-printing, which in recent times has become increasingly available and accessible to users in developed economies, whilst the manufacturing capacity of 3D-printers has dramatically grown. Although current offerings on the market are far from a Star Trek-like “replicator”, the spectre of disruption has once again arrived, with the prospect of 3D-printed guns inspiring a moral panic and raising questions of gun control, regulation, jurisdiction and effective control. In addition, 3D-printing raises a number of issues regarding intellectual property, going far beyond the copyright problems that file-sharing brought about due to its production of physical objects.
This special issue of the Journal of Peer Production calls for papers that deal with the intersection of peer production, disruptive technologies and the law. Potential topics include, but are not restricted to:

SPD: Democracy and Other Matters

For those interested in comparative constitutionalism and public law, my views on current Irish debates about the abolition of our Upper House (the Seanad) of our Parliament (the Oireachtas) are available here on The Irish Politics Forum

A referendum, one of two, on the subject takes place 4 October 2013. General information is available here from our independent Referendum Commission.

Those interested in witnessing some of the, sometimes ugly, online debate might check in here from time-to-time.