Laughing at the Gods: Great Judges and How They Made the Common Law

Laughing at the Gods: Great Judges and How They Made the Common Law

by Allan C. Hutchinson


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Any effort to understand how law works has to take seriously its main players - judges. Like any performance, judging should be evaluated by reference to those who are its best exponents. Not surprisingly, the debate about what makes a 'great judge' is as heated and inconclusive as the debate about the purpose and nature of law itself. History shows that those who are generally considered to be candidates for a judicial hall of fame are game changers who oblige us to rethink what it is to be a good judge. So the best of judges must tread a thin line between modesty and hubris; they must be neither mere umpires nor demigods. The eight judges showcased in this book demonstrate that, if the test of good judging is not about getting it right, but doing it well, then the measure of great judging is about setting new standards for what counts as judging well.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107662766
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 03/31/2012
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Allan C. Hutchinson is a Distinguished Research Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, Toronto, and a widely recognized leading law scholar. He is presently Associate Vice-President and Dean of Graduate Studies at York. In 2004, he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada. Hutchinson has authored or edited sixteen books, including Is Eating People Wrong?: Great Legal Cases and How They Shaped the World (2010), The Province of Jurisprudence Democratized (2008) and Evolution and the Common Law (2005).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Lord Mansfield; 3. John Marshall; 4. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr; 5. James Atkin; 6. Tom Denning; 7. Thurgood Marshall; 8. Bertha Wilson; 9. Albie Sachs; 10. Conclusion.

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