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Is Eating People Wrong?
Great Legal Cases and How they Shaped the World

$125.00 (P)

  • Date Published: December 2010
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107000377

$ 125.00 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Great cases are those judicial decisions around which the common law develops. This book explores eight exemplary cases from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia that show the law as a living, breathing, and down-the-street experience. It explores the social circumstances in which the cases arose and the ordinary people whose stories influenced and shaped the law as well as the characters and institutions (lawyers, judges, and courts) that did much of the heavy lifting. By examining the consequences and fallout of these decisions, the book depicts the common law as an experimental, dynamic, messy, productive, tantalizing, and bottom-up process, thereby revealing the diverse and uncoordinated attempts by the courts to adapt the law to changing conditions and shifting demands. Great cases are one way to glimpse the workings of the common law as an untidy, but stimulating exercise in human judgment and social accomplishment.

    • Looks behind the mystery of the law
    • Debunks the myths about judicial law-making
    • Shows law as a messy and pragmatic social practice rather than a detached exercise in formal rule-application
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The law lives through people and their stories - and Allan Hutchinson has captured some of the most remarkable legal stories of the last two centuries in this book. … The details are memorable, often funny, and sometimes tragic. English speaking peoples are still united by a common legal tradition, and these stories … unite us by reminding the reader what it means for humans to argue and resolve their disputes through judgment."
    Noah Feldman, Bemis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and author of Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices

    "Combining great story telling with insightful legal analysis, Hutchinson provides readers with fascinating human dramas and historical insights while engaging them in a wide-ranging investigation of the nature and significance of law. Rarely has a "must-read" been this much fun!"
    Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor, Simon Fraser University

    "Although this is most obviously an almost perfect book to give any aspiring law student, it can be read with enjoyment and profit by general readers and legal academics alike."
    Sanford Levinson, University of Texas Law School

    "A law degree will take three years of your life and a big chunk out of your bank account. This book promises to turn anyone into a font of legal opinion and trivia in a fraction of the time and cost. … The "great cases" are lively and educational in equal parts."
    Peter Shawn Taylor, Maclean's

    "Also worth reading is a book that just landed in my mailbox with the charming title Is Eating People Wrong?. The author, Canadian scholar Allan C. Hutchinson, picks eight "great cases" that help explain how the law in English-speaking nations works. For non-lawyers who want an introduction to the judge-made system we call the common law, this book is the ideal primer."
    Daniel Fisher,

    "Highly readable and engaging; one is quickly drawn into the human stories that underlie the litigation. … The author amply fulfills his goal of persuading the reader that 'great cases are one way to glimpse the workings of the common law as an untidy but stimulating exercise in human judgment and social accomplishment."
    Philip Girard, Literary Review of Canada

    "Hutchinson’s writing is mercifully free of legal jargon, and his ability to quickly and simply sketch out the historical and social context of each case is superb. … [His] accessible and entertaining book will be appreciated by any reader wanting perspective on how the law impacts society, and vice versa."
    Paul Challen, Quill and Quire

    "Hutchinson here, as with all the cases, proves an adept storyteller. One may wonder whether this case is as important as he believes, but it is hard not to be interested in its outcome."
    John M. Sands, The Federal Lawyer

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107000377
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 156 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 21 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. In praise of great cases - the big, the bad and the goodly
    2. Is eating people wrong? - the law and lore of the sea
    3. Bearing witness - in support of the rule of law
    4. In the hunt - power, property, and possession
    5. Shades of brown - a constitutional catharsis
    6. A snail in a bottle - nature, neighbours, and negligence
    7. An aboriginal title - the lie and law of the land
    8. Grinding at the mill - putting limits on agreements
    9. Of crimes and cautions - the rights and rites of investigation
    10. Coming up for air - the common law at 2010.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Intro to Legal Studies
    • Law & Society
    • Legal Writing, Research and Advocacy
    • Municipal Law
    • Public Law and Legislation
  • Author

    Allan C. Hutchinson, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto
    Allan C. Hutchinson is a Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, Toronto and a widely recognized leading law scholar. In 2004, he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2006 he was named as a Distinguished Research Professor of York University. Hutchinson has authored and/or edited sixteen books, most recently The Province of Jurisprudence Democratized and Evolution and the Common Law.

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