School of Law

Dr Jen Hendry presents her research at the Socio-Legal Studies Association Conference

16 December 2014 |

Dr Hendry's research focused on comparative legal studies.

Dr Hendry attended the Conference which took place on 15-16 December and was co-hosted by the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) and The Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS) at the University of Oxford. Building on the success of previous conferences, the SLSA invited participants to explore the comparative in socio-legal studies.

Dr Hendry's abstract- A Broad Church? Comparative (Socio-) Legal Studies

This past semester I have been teaching a seminar on classical legal positivism, part of which engages with Jeremy Bentham’s argument in favour of legal codification: we discuss the alleged benefits of this approach and then query why the legal systems of the United Kingdom were never codified. The most interesting contributions to this discussion invariably come from students who have been involved in the Erasmus exchange scheme, whether they have recently returned from the continent or are visiting Leeds; they outline how they had previously been unaware that legal systems had opted for or against legal codification, that the varying socio political contexts had been so influential in terms of that selection and, moreover, that their own conception of law and its deeper structures had been challenged by the very existence of an alternative model. For many of these students this was the first instance where they had been presented with occasion to challenge (what until that point had been) taken for granted assumptions about their own legal system and legal culture and, importantly, the insight facilitating this opportunity was that things were done differently elsewhere. I tell this story to highlight two specific points: first, that it was the contextualisation of a specific legal process that provided the opportunity for a critical perspective and, second, that the importance of such a perspective was shown in particularly sharp relief by the very recognition of circumstances of alterity.

Read the full abstract online.

More information about the conference can be found on the CSLS website.

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