Joshua will reflect on the role of "leading cases" in forming the common law tradition, and re-examine the mode of historical analysis of cases pioneered by AWB Simpson. Simpson's historicisations dipped the law in cynical acid, using the surrounding context of court cases to show how accidental or arbitrary the doctrines of the law could be.
Another approach, more familiar from the Cambridge schools of political thought from Maitland to Skinner, is to site legal ideas in an intellectual longue durée, and then show how later actors changed and adapted the original meaning of old cases for political ends. In this seminar we will look at some examples drawn from equity and trusts, including cases establishing key principles of charitable trusts, floating charges, and fiduciary duties of loyalty. Possible applications of old jurisprudence to current controversies, such as First Nation rights, will conclude the discussion.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Getzler to Lecture on Leading Cases
Joshua Getzler, Oxford University, will speak on Leading Cases, Hermeneutics, and the Politics of Legal History at the Australian National University on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, from 1–2pm: