WG Hart, day 2, session 5

by Paul Maharg on 27/06/2014

Last session, and I was talking in the graveyard shift alongside Andrew Sanders and John Flood, so can’t comment much on that session, except to say that Andrew Sanders’ presentation  was sincere, well-argued and punchy, but I disagreed with almost all of it, including its general argument that ‘[i]f the LETR report is followed, narrow doctrinairism could be entrenched still further’; and his statement of ‘the report’s fundamental failure […] to identify its purpose in relation to academic legal study, and a failure to grasp what is meant by “socio-legal”‘ (extract from abstract).  Clearly socio-legal can be added to technology, the digital and education as subjects that I’ve been told at various points in my life I know nothing about.  Ach well.

John Flood’s presentation was characteristically iconoclastic and out there (‘most law courses look the same.  They depend on a set of dreary canonical textbooks that students rarely read and can’t wait to sell once the course is over’ – ‘ … ‘Mazur’s brain scans of students shows more active rates of brain activity during sleep than in classes’ — from his abstract), and I agreed with almost all of it.  I liked his conclusion – ‘perhaps it is time to introduce a truly liberal law degree that owes more to the humanities than pretending otherwise’ – because it reminded me of the contrast between my Arts undergraduate lectures at Glasgow U, 1974-78 (highly variable quality, often intriguing, stimulated me to read beyond Eng & Scot Lit to aesthetics, philosophy, history, art, history of ideas and science and many more disciplines — I lived in the Library, ranging its Arts floors, and loved it) with my LLB lectures, Glasgow U, 1990-92 (highly variable quality and, apart from a handful of inspiring lecturers, massively dull — I lived in the Law section of the Library and mostly disliked it).  The concept of art as therapeusis is problematic, but at some point before I die, I’m planning to work on a book on nineteenth century Scottish legal culture and literature not least to bring together these two halves of my life.  And thus to continue the journey to Scotland.

My presentation slides are up on Slideshare, and on this site’s slides page here, and abstract here.  If I had to take one slide as representative of the whole argument, it would be this one, a multi-faceted portrait of a regulator, embodied in Recommendation 25 of the Report, which now I read it again sounds dangerously socio-legal but hey, what do I know —








Did it make for a sparky session?  If you were there, drop a comment…


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