Canadian Feminist/Legal Scholars on Case Method & Context

These two pieces from West Coast colleagues caught my eye lately. Both are about putting the context back into cases and they offer much to us as educators and scholars.

Young, Margot E., Insite: Site and Sight (Part 1 – Insights on Insite) (2011). Constitutional Forum, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 87-91, 2011.

The case thus presents a legal moment in a much longer and more complex social and political struggle over the rights and life chances of groups significantly marginalized and disadvantaged in Canadian society generally, and in the urban life of the city at issue in particular.

Elizabeth A. Adjin-Tettey and Freya Kodar  offer up  Film as a Complement to the Written Text: Reflections on Using the Sterilization of Leilani Muir to Teach Muir v. Alberta (2011). Alberta Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 3, 2011.  This one grabbed me at least in part because of Regina Austin’s recent visit and our discussions about the place of documentary film and video making as a part of teaching lawyers.  Adjin-Tettey and Kodar are thoughtful on the opportunities and questions – definitely worth a read for those thinking about tweaking their teaching.

The increasing use of film, fictional and documentary, to tell stories about law is partly influenced by the perception that moving images and sound recordings of real life events
offer the audience entry points into the lives of those involved in the case, along with a picture of the broader contexts that may be omitted in case reports. In this regard films,
particularly documentaries, take viewers beyond the “official” accounts in the case reports and allow them to experience the “reality” of the cases.47 Visual images, as well as sound
recordings of events, provide audiences a rare opportunity to reflect on, interpret images and sounds, and form their own impression and understanding of events. The opportunity to
observe body language, facial expression, and demeanour, as well as any subtext that might not be immediately apparent in a written record, produces an affective and embodied
response not always possible from engagement with written texts. It allows the viewer a better sense of the meaning of the case to those involved.


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