Author(s): Allan C. Hutchinson
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.
"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 Professor of Law, University of Texas Law School
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.
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.