: 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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The Internationalisation of Legal Education: The Future Practice of Law

Kristoffer Greaves

van-Caenegem-Internationalisation-of-legal-education-smWilliam van Caenegem and Mary Hiscock (eds); Edward Elgar, 2014; 316pp; £76.50 (hardback)

Caenegem and Hiscock’s The Internationalisation of Legal Education: The Future Practice of Law (Edward Elgar, 2014) follows their earlier book, The Internationalisation of Law: Legislating, Decision Making, Practice and Education (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2010). The latest book is substantially based on contributions made at a symposium that focused on internationalisation of legal education held at Bond University in 2012. In their preface, the editors provide a cogent overarching theme for the work:

Whereas the emphasis and content of global law will continue to vary, the trend is clearly toward greater recognition of the necessity and value of an international perspective, both technical and cultural, in the law graduate of the future.

(2015) 40(1) AltLJ 67

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R v Milat: A Case Study in Cross-Examination

Tim McGrath

Howard-r-v-milat-cross-exam-smDan Howard; LexisNexis Butterworths, 2014; $139 (paperback)

Dan Howard SC has produced a compelling text, which lives up to its title A Case Study in Cross-Examination. The dreadful deeds of Ivan Milat (aka the Backpacker Murderer) continue to resonate within our national psyche. The discovery of the first victim, and then the next, led to the gradual realisation that something truly awful had been taking place in the Belanglo State Forest. The investigation, arrest and trial of the larger than life Milat gripped the attention of the public. A true horror story, and the genesis of fictional offspring such as the ‘Wolf Creek’ franchise.

I chose this book as holiday reading; a break from the practice of commercial litigation. It was something of a shock therefore to discover that the book consists, for the most part, of the unabridged transcript of the cross examination of Milat by senior crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC. Don’t get me wrong; court work is, by its nature, unpredictable and exciting. One of my great disappointments however, is the inherent inability of a transcript to capture the excitement, the nuance and tension of court room drama. Once the dust has settled and the transcript emerges, it can be nothing but a jumble of words on a page; confused when one party talks over another, and an otherwise lifeless account of the proceedings.

(2015) 40(1) AltLJ 67

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Royal Commissions & Public Inquiries: Practice And Potential

Eric Windholz

Royal-Commissions-Public-Inquiries-Practice-And-PotentialScott Prasser and Helen Tracey (Eds); Connor Court Publishing, 2014; 410pp; $49.95 (paperback)

Royal Commissions and other forms of public inquiries are an important feature of modern government. Executed well, they contribute to rational policymaking and improved accountability and integrity. However if executed poorly, they can be wasteful and costly, and risk undermining public confidence both in the inquiry process itself, and in government more broadly. They are therefore an important topic warranting greater understanding.

(2014) 39(4) AltLJ 279

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The Politics Of Law And Stability In China

Gary Lung

The-Politics-Of-Law-And-StabilitySusan Trevaskes, Elisa Nesossi, Flora Sapio and Sarah Biddulph (Eds); Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014; 290pp; UK£72 (hardcover)

The Politics of Law and Stability in China is a collection of 13 essays that examines the nexus between the law and social stability in contemporary China. Former leader of China Deng Xiaoping once said the Communist Party-state should ‘preserve stability above all other concerns’ (wending yadao yiqie), and social stability has since become a central socio-political concern for China’s governing authorities in the past decades. The book is divided into three parts to explore how Chinese government adapts its law and legal procedures in order to achieve and maintain social stability and to strike a balance between reaching positive legal outcomes and positive social outcomes behind the country’s rapid economic growth.

(2014) 39(4) AltLJ 279

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Aboriginal Customary Law: A Source Of Common Law Title To Land

Katie O’bryan

Aboriginal-Customary-Law-A-Source-Of-Common-Law-Title-To-LandUlla Secher; Hart Publishing, 2014; 534pp; UK£90 (hardcover)

As noted in the Preface, this book seeks ‘to offer an alternative to conventional Aboriginal title doctrine,’ namely the doctrine of common law Aboriginal customary title.

The book starts by explaining the system of feudalism that shaped the common law and the doctrine of tenure, and the effect of their reception into the Australian colonies up until the seminal Mabo decision. The book then re-evaluates pre-Mabo case law from former British colonies in Africa, as well as the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

(2014) 39(4) AltLJ 280

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