Thursday, May 18, 2006

Storytelling and the Law

Yesterday I arrived home from my morning performances to find some pieces of paper sticking out from under my door. I had a fair idea what they might be and I was right. Annie had dropped in with some photocopies of articles about Storytelling and the Law. I had run into her the day before in Vulture Street in West End on my way to Phil the Barber for a haircut so I stopped for a coffee and a chat and she told me about the articles.

She certainly had me interested. The drift was that if legal people had a better idea of the narrative and the personal stories of their clients and defendants they they would be better able to make informed, compassionate and appropriate judgements. Sounded good to me and I was looking forward to a read.

Well I've got to admit Annie that, when I got to read them - 'Storytelling, Postmodernism and the Law', Hon Justice Peter Heerey, The Australian Law Journal, 74:681-691 and 'Literature and the judicial role - Why judges should read novels and mandatory sentencing should be rejected', Rodney Allen - I was a little disappointed. The articles beat around the legal and academic bushes quite a bit and didn't really seem to come to the point of exploring an increased role for, or relevance of, personal narratives to any meaningful extent. Even though they were worth reading I was left with the feeling that both authors were reluctant to go out on any legal limbs in case they raised the ire of colleagues or similar.

Now here is my request does anyone know of any more specific articles about the role of storytelling and narrative structure in law?

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