: Law & Culture

Law & Culture

Law and CultureIn our Law & Culture column, you will find original works of fiction, reviews of a wide range of publications — not just conventional legal texts — as well as broader cultural forms such as films, TV shows, CDs, DVDs, art exhibitions and so on. The column links in with the Alternative Law Journal’s focus on law for the disadvantaged, human rights law and law reform.

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Mike Daly

JINX-150Hugh McGinlay; Threekookaburras, 2015; $22 (paperback), $16 (ebook)

A desperate phone call interrupts Catherine Kint’s leisurely breakfast, triggering a deadly chain of events. Her friend Boris the barman has stumbled across the body of a woman with her throat cut in a nearby back alley. It’s the start of a complex and highly entertaining crime caper by Melbourne muso and author Hugh McGinlay, set amid the city’s inner northern suburbs.

The blood-spattered corpse is an all-too familiar sight to the intrepid Catherine, a crime scene investigator-turned milliner, but more puzzling are the apparently ritualistic symbols found near the body. McGinlay teases the reader with a semi-comic occult plot strand woven around a shady spiritual cult run by two brothers.

A former police colleague has lined up Catherine’s friend — a ‘celebrity witch’ — as chief suspect but, as the murders start piling up, it appears more sinister forces are behind the mayhem.

McGinlay has created an offbeat, likeable heroine in Catherine. I, for one, look forward to more of her adventures in future.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 146


Wild Law – In Practice

Peter Boulot

Wild-Law-in-Practice-150Michelle Maloney and Peter Burdon; Routledge, 272 pp; $140 (hardcover)

What is Wild Law?

Is it being wild at the law? Many of us feel that way…

Or is it practicing law wildly? Many of us have wished that that were possible in such a closed profession. Rather, in fact, Wild Law is an inverted approach to law, one sourced in humility and mystery. But I hear your guffaws oh reader as you say, ‘Horseshit, that is an oxymoron. I’ve never met a lawyer that is humbled by the limitations of their profession’. Well, Wild Law is just that; the acceptance of a greater law which is based on cosmological constants and respect for life and of which our constructed legal systems only form a small part.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 146



Samuel Blashki

the-case-against-8-smDirected by Ben Cotner and Ryan White; HBO, 2014; Distributed in Australia by Leapfrog Films — https://leapfrogfilms.com.au/movie/case-8/

The Case Against 8 documents the inspiring story of a lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment in California that had the effect of banning same-sex marriage in the state.

Spanning five years, the HBO documentary directed and produced by Ben Cotner and Ryan White follows the case from its inception to trial, through various appeals and ultimately, to a winning verdict in the US Supreme Court. It largely focuses on the four plaintiffs and their legal team, who ultimately succeed in legalising same-sex marriage in California.

(2015) 40(1) AltLJ 70


Earth Jurisprudence: Private Property and the Environment

Kate Galloway

Burdon-Earth-Jurisprudence-Private-Property-smPeter D Burdon; Routledge, 2015; 177 pages; $125 (hardback)

The Bolivian constitutional recognition of earth rights, the Whanganui River declaration in New Zealand and the recent court finding of some rights vesting in a captive Argentinian orang-utan, indicate that the law is slowly waking up to its exclusion of the natural world from the realm of rights. These examples are simply facets of a much broader ‘convergence of crises, all of which present a significant moral and survival challenge for the human species,’ requiring a re-imagining of the potential of the law. Peter Burdon’s book Earth Jurisprudence: Private Property and the Environment does just that, providing both a theoretical justification and a model for a holistic engagement between private property and the natural world.

(2015) 40(1) AltLJ 68


Blackstone And His Commentaries – Biography, Law, History

Adam Webster

Prest-Blackstone-and-his-commentaries-smWilfrid Prest (Ed); Hart Publishing, 2014; UK£20.00 (paperback)

Williams Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-69) is arguably one of the most influential legal texts in the common law world. In Australia, courts today still make reference to the Commentaries. This collection of essays was the product of a symposium held in Adelaide in 2007 on ‘William Blackstone: Life, Thought, Influence’. The collection was first published in hardback in 2009 and in 2014 has been republished in paperback. The timing of the rerelease of this collection could not be more appropriate, with 2015 marking 250 years since the publication of the first volume of the Commentaries.

The collection of essays examines Blackstone’s life, his work and the influence of that work on the development of the law. The collection is divided into four parts, dealing with these three topics in turn. The fourth and final part contains two chapters: a chapter (by Morris Cohen) on bibliography and a chapter (by JH Baker and Wilfrid Prest) on iconography.

(2015) 40(1) AltLJ 69


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