Critical Legal

Regulatory exceptionalism: the EU short selling ban

dollar's flow in black hole

A much re­marked upon fea­ture of the Global Financial Crisis (‘GFC’) has been the re­course of gov­ern­ments to per­manent states of ex­cep­tion, pur­portedly jus­ti­fied by the need to pro­tect fin­an­cial sta­bility. We have seen everything from prime min­is­ters being heli­coptered in (Romano Prodi), to mon­et­arist central banks buying up bonds and even gilts, to the decision…

Between Repression and Paternalism: European Asylum and Immigration Policy after the Lampedusa Tragedy

Coffins in the Lampedusa airport hangar

Crocodile Tears In the space of just over a week the world watched in as­ton­ish­ment as two ships sank off the Italian coast, giving rise to stag­gering death-​tolls (359 on the 3rd of October, more than 50 on the 11th) and various ex­pres­sions of grief. Among the mourners were those dir­ectly re­spons­ible for asylum and immigration…

The Law of University Protest: Notes from the UK


December 1st saw the launch of “Defend the Irish University”; a charter which un­der­scores common ex­per­i­ences of uni­ver­sity privat­isa­tion in Ireland and the UK, and sug­gests pos­sib­il­ities for res­ist­ance. It is im­portant to take note of what is hap­pening to stu­dents and staff who are con­testing the ef­fects of sim­ilar aus­terity and privat­isa­tion policies on higher…

A Longer Road to Freedom: Addressing 21st Century Apartheids

Nelson Mandela Monument Marco Cianfanelli

The death of Nelson Mandela seems to unite minds and hearts the world over in a cel­eb­ra­tion of his life’s achieve­ments and an ap­par­ently near-​universal sad­ness at the passing of ‘a great light’ from the world. International leaders are lining up to give their deeply felt eu­lo­gies; na­tional flags fly at half mast over sites of…

Nelson Mandela: The Lawyer’s Ideal

Nelson Mandela at work in the Johannesburg office where he and Oliver Tambo practised law together during the apartheid era. Photograph: Jurgen Schadeberg

Today [Ed: 5 Dec] marks the loss not only of one of the greatest fig­ures of the 20th cen­tury, but also one of the greatest law­yers. Most would readily agree that Mandela was a great leader and a great statesman. Indeed, I still re­member when as a child I watched on TV with tears of joy as Nelson Mandela danced at…

Letters on Legal Architecture


FIRST LETTER (New York on July 12th 2012) /​/​/​Dear Lucy, I read your essay Archiving Burroughs: Interzone, Law, Self-​Medication with at­ten­tion and ap­pre­ci­ated, as usual, the way you manage to link nar­rative, law and space all to­gether. I do think how­ever that we should keep this text for a little bit later in our con­ver­sa­tion as its…

The Political in the Contract Classroom


When we started ‘The Public Life of Private Law’ one of the con­ver­sa­tions we wanted to have with par­ti­cipants, and with others fol­lowing the series, was about teaching private law from a crit­ical per­spective. In par­tic­ular, we wanted to think about how those of us who fell into teaching private law through a mix­ture of ne­ces­sity and serendipity, but…

Palestinian Family Unification in Israel: The Limits of Litigation as Means of Resistance


At the end of March 2002, Eli Yishai, then the Israeli Minister of Internal Affairs, de­cided that all re­quests for family uni­fic­a­tions sub­mitted by Palestinian cit­izens of Israel mar­ried to Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) would be frozen until fur­ther no­tice. The media re­ported that the de­cision was made fol­lowing the sui­cide attack…

ELDH Statement on Syria: An alleged crime against humanity should not be punishable by an illegal use of force


The European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH), with mem­bers in 18 European coun­tries, is ab­so­lutely op­posed to the pro­posed use of il­legal force by Western powers against the Syrian re­gime. The US gov­ern­ment is leading a call for mil­itary ac­tion against Syria which will of ne­ces­sity kill ci­vil­ians, with the os­tens­ible pur­pose of showing…

Law and The Senses: Symposium, Performance, Phenomenon?

Pietro Paolini - Allegory of the Five Senses

The an­nounce­ment of the event ‘Law and the Senses’ at the University of Westminster sounded in­triguing. The call for pa­pers asked: What is Law’s re­la­tion­ship to senses? In a sense, Law, the an­aes­thetic par ex­cel­lence, is con­stantly en­gaged in numbing the sense into common sense; ma­nip­u­lating, chan­nel­ling and con­trolling the sens­ible; in­serting prop­er­ties and for­bid­ding con­tacts; dis­sim­u­lating vi­ol­ence, reg­u­lating sounds…

Debating BDS (Boy­cott, Divest­ment, Sanc­tions): Fraser v UCU


On March 22nd, 2013 the Employment Tribunal (UK-London) rendered judg­ment in the case of Fraser v University & College Union (UCU). Ruling in fa­vour of UCU, the Tribunal’s judg­ment brought im­mense re­lief to UCU mem­bers, BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) act­iv­ists, and others who were anxious about the po­ten­tial re­per­cus­sions that a neg­ative out­come might have for freedom of…

From the White Overalls (Tute Bianche) to the Book Bloc

Book Bloc Demonstrators

It seems a cen­tury has gone by since the polit­ical season of the Tute Bianche (White Overalls), but it was only a little over ten years ago. Ten years in which much has happened. Despite the his­tor­ical shifts that have taken place in these past ten years, re­bel­lious stu­dents in Rome and in London last au­tumn endorsed…

Health, Safety and Publicness: Athens, August 9 – 14, 2012


Five days in Athens. Five very varied days. I used to fre­quent Athens as a teen­ager with my par­ents. We were al­ways transit vis­itors, en route to Kano, Nigeria where my late father used to work. Those visits where quick, two days in Athens, vis­iting an­cient monu­ments, mu­seums, tav­ernas, cafes, friends, and re­l­at­ives. You see, post 1974…

Capturing The Social Sciences: An Experiment in Political Epistemology

Bee Orchid

According to the title that iden­ti­fies this panel, we are here to enter into a dis­cus­sion around the pro­ductive powers of some­thing called “crit­ical theory”. At first sight, cri­tique and pro­ductivity might strike anyone as being op­posite terms. Isn’t cri­tique re­lated to a cer­tain form of neg­at­ivity? To saying “no” to power? And isn’t the de­mands for cap­it­al­istic “pro­ductivity” what some of us cri­ti­cise, or at least at­tempt to do so?

The title of this panel, how­ever, seems to put such a taken-​for-​granted re­la­tion­ship at risk. “The Productive power of crit­ical theory”– can we think of a pro­ductive crit­ic­ality? or a crit­ical pro­ductivity? What might it mean to en­gage in a form of critical-​productive thought and how might such en­gage­ments con­tribute to chal­len­ging and trans­forming our knowledge-​practices within the so­cial sci­ences and the hu­man­ities? These are some of the ques­tions with which I will at­tempt to ex­per­i­ment in what follows.

To be sure, these ques­tions are not new, and many re­searchers and thinkers in the so­cial sci­ences and the hu­man­ities are be­coming in­creas­ingly in­ter­ested in them, to the ex­tent that ar­gu­ably none of the latest so-​called turns within these fields, be it the “on­to­lo­gical turn”, the “prac­tice turn”, the “af­fective turn” and so on, leave the ques­tion of the re­la­tion between cri­tique and pro­ductivity untouched.

Law’s Justice – Editorial from Relaunched Journal: No Foundations

Yoko Ono

The re­launch of No Foundations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice is de­voted to re­thinking the pos­sib­ility of law’s justice. We have chosen to ap­proach this ques­tion from a law and hu­man­ities per­spective, mainly for two reasons. The first is that this in­ter­dis­cip­linary move­ment, presently gaining mo­mentum in Europe, re­con­cep­tu­al­izes law in a way that opens…

Declaration: Hardt & Negri


This is not a mani­festo. Manifestos provide a glimpse of a world to come and also call into being the sub­ject, who al­though now only a specter must ma­ter­i­alize to be­come the agent of change. Manifestos work like the an­cient prophets, who by the power of their vision create their own people. Today’s so­cial move­ments have re­versed the order,…

In solidarity with the Greek People


For joint ac­tions around the Greek elec­tions, and for large Euro-Mediterranean’s mo­bil­iz­a­tions in au­tumn 2012! The re­sponse to the fin­an­cial and eco­nomic crisis is the same every­where: cuts in ex­penditure and aus­terity meas­ures under the pre­text of re­du­cing de­fi­cits and the re­pay­ment of a public debt which is the direct out­come of 20 years of neo­lib­eral policies.…

The Challenges of Indignation: Spain’s 15M


The 15M [the Indignados ‘move­ment’] is very alive, we see this in the great chal­lenges that await it. It has many achieve­ments, some very vis­ible, like the cre­ation of a dif­ferent so­cial cli­mate or having so­cial­ized the idea that the crisis is a con, and that this con started well be­fore the crisis. A year later it has…

The Irish Referendum: Fear Prevails

A "vote no" poster in Dublin, ahead of Ireland's referendum in the fiscal pact.

The result of the ref­er­endum on the Fiscal Treaty that took place yes­terday in Ireland was a Yes in fa­vour of the con­sti­tu­tional change that al­lows the neo­lib­eral meas­ures con­tained in the Treaty to im­ple­mented. There was a very low level of par­ti­cip­a­tion: around 50% of the elect­orate, and it can there­fore be said that the change…