Wednesday, April 7, 2004

(From The Age's "My Melbourne" series. Click for more.)

Another reason it's impossible to speak common-sense to lawyers

A girlfriend's mother once wisely said to me that when she studied a law unit in a mangement course, for the first time she realised law was not a body of knowledge but its own system of reasoning - a philosophy.

A Cambridge Professor of International Law agrees:

“To learn the law is not to learn law, but to learn to be a lawyer. To be a lawyer is to live through a particular looking-glass, inside a law-world with its own law-mind and its own law-reality.”

P. Allot, The Health of Nations, 2002, p. 38

This is so recognisable, especially when he speaks of law as a “private language” evolving in parallel to ordinary English, using ordinary English words (such as innocent, purpose, intention, reasonable) in a particular way, making it impossible for a non-lawyer to join the debate by using the words in their ordinary meaning.

It's scary, 'cause it's true ...

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