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section heading icon     systems

This page highlights works for understanding legal systems.

It covers -

subsection heading icon     Jurisprudence

Points of entry into the literature on jurisprudence include Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press 2005) by Raymond Wacks, The Politics of Jurisprudence: A Critical Introduction to Legal Philosophy 2 ed (London: LexisNexis 2003) by Roger Cotterrell, 'Natural Law: the Classical Tradition' by John Finnis in The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press 2004) 1-60 edited by Jules Coleman & Scott Shapiro, A Short History of Western Legal Theory (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press 1992) by John Kelly, 'The Decline and Fall of Dworkin’s Empire' by Robert Moles in Reading Dworkin Critically (New York: Berg 1991) 77-121 edited by Alan Hunt, Philosophy of Law: An Introduction 2 ed (London: Routledge 2005) by Mark Tebbit, 'Legal Realism for Lawyers' by David Wilkins in 104(2) Harvard Law Review (1990) 469-514, The Sociological Movement in Law (London: Macmillan 1978) by Alan Hunt,

Key works include Lon Fuller's The Morality of Law (New Haven: Yale Uni Press 1969), Hans Kelsen's General Theory of Law & the State new ed (New Brunswick: Transaction 2006), Herbert Hart's The Concept of Law 2 ed (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997), John Rawls' masterful A Theory of Justice (Cambridge: The Belknap Press 1971), Julius Stone's Legal System and Lawyers Reasoning (Sydney: Maitland 1968), Roscoe Pound's Social Control Through Law new ed (New Brunswick: Transaction 1997). Insights regarding Hart are offered in Nicola Lacey's A Life of HLA Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press 2004)

subsection heading icon     legal history

Introductions to Australian legal history include An Unruly Child: A History of Law in Australia (Sydney: Allen & Unwin 1996) by Bruce Kercher, An Australian Legal History (Sydney: Law Book Co 1982) by Alex Castles and Kercher's 2000 paper Why the History of Australian Law is not English.

Among work on overseas regimes see American Law in the 20th Century (New Haven: Yale Uni Press 2002) and A History of American Law (New York: Simon & Schuster 1986) by Lawrence Friedman, The Magic Mirror: Law in American History (New York: Oxford Uni Press 1989) by Kermit Hall, On the History of the Idea of Law (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 2005) by Shirley Letwin ,and An Historical Introduction to Western Constitutional Law (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 1995) by RC Van Caenegem.

Richard Abel's magisterial studies of the legal profession are highlighted later in this note.

subsection heading icon     courts

Among works on the jury system - hyped as your peers but in practice weighted strongly to the blue-collar and no-collar demographics - see A Jury of Whose Peers? The Cultural Politics of Juries in Australia (Crawley: Uni of Western Australia Press 2004) edited by Kate Auty & Sandy Toussaint. Geraldine Mackenzie's How Judges Sentence (Leichhardt: Federation Press 2005) and Edward Thomas' The Judicial Process: Realism. Pragmatism, Practical Reasoning and Principles (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 2005) are essential reading. They are complemented by Richard Bonnie's 'Excusing and Punishing in Criminal Adjudication: A Reality Check' in 5 Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy (1995) 1-16

Points of entry to debate about judicial activism include 'Judicial Activism – Justice or Treason?' by Tom Campbell in 10(3) Otago Law Review (2003) 207-326, Justice In Robes (Cambridge: The Belknap Press 2006) by Ronald Dworkin, 'Critique and Comment: Concern About Judicial Method' by Michael Coper in 30(2) Melbourne University Law Review (2006) 554-575, Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons (Cambridge, Cambridge Uni Press 2000) by Malcolm Feeley & Edward Rubin, 'Implications in Judicial Law-Making' by John Doyle in Courts of Final Jurisdiction – The Mason Court in Australia (Leichhardt: Federation Press 1996) 84-98 edited by Cheryl Saunders, 'Legislative and Judicial Law-making: Can we locate an identifiable boundary?' by Anthony Mason in The Mason Papers: Selected Articles and Speeches by Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE (Leichhardt: Federation Press 2007) 59-79 edited by Geoffrey Lindell, 'Continuity and Judicial Creativity – Some Observations' by Ronald Sackville in 20(1) University of New South Wales Law Journal (1997) 145-69 and his 'Activism' in Oxford Companion to the High Court (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press 2001) 6-7, 'Letting Justice be Done Without the Heavens Falling' by Kenneth Hayne in 27(1) Monash University Law Review (2001) 12, 'Judicial Activism and the Death of the Rule of Law' by Dyson Heydon in XLVII(1) Quadrant (Jan 2003) 9-22 and the more persuasive 'Judicial Activism: Power Without Responsibility? No, Appropriate Activism Conforming To Duty' by Michael Kirby in 30(2) Melbourne University Law Review (2006) 576-593.

subsection heading icon     rule of law

Perspectives on the rule of law are provided in The Rule of Law and the Constitution (Sydney: ABC Books 2000) by Murray Gleeson, Bird in a Cage: Legal Reform in China after Mao (Stanford: Stanford Uni Press 1999) by Stanley Lubman, China's Long March toward Rule of Law (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 2002) by Randall Peerenboom, Why People Obey The Law (Princeton: Princeton Uni Press 2006) by Tom Tyler, Is There a Duty to Obey the Law? (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 2005) by Christopher Wellman & A John Simmons,

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version of December 2008
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