Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG489H1S - L0301

ENG489H1S  L0301 R2-4
Law as Literature: Story and Style in Judicial Writing (Group 1)
Professor Greig Henderson
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room 702
Email: ghenders@chass.utoronto.ca

Brief Description of Course: This course is about legal world-making and judicial self-fashioning, about how judges create normative universes for us to live in and fashion ethical images of themselves as judges every time they decide a case. Its enabling assumptions are that judicial writing is a form of narrative and rhetoric, that storytelling in law is narrative within a culture of argument, and that narrative is an integral element of legal argument. Topics to be explored include the illuminative power of concepts drawn from narratology and dialogism; the function of style in the rhetoric of judgment; the rhetoric of causality, intention, and voluntariness in the language of the law; and the ways in which judges express and repress issues surrounding violence, sexual assault, and sexual behaviour.

Required Reading: Law’s Stories: Narrative and Rhetoric in the Law, ed. Peter Brooks and Paul Gewirtz. Various judgments, stories, and articles to be distributed in class or downloaded.

First Three Authors/Texts: “Narrative and Rhetoric in the Law” (Gewirtz); “The Law as Narrative and Rhetoric” (Brooks);  Lloyds Bank v Bundy (Lord Denning).

Method of Instruction: Seminar

Method of Evaluation: Seminar presentation (10-15 minutes), seminar paper (5-7 pages), class contribution 40%, term paper (10-12 pages) 60%. 

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