Critical Legal Reading: The Elements, Strategies, and Dispositions Needed to Master This Essential Skill

29 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2017 Last revised: 5 Oct 2017

See all articles by Alex Steel

Alex Steel

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Kate Galloway

Griffith Law School

Mary Heath

Flinders University - School of Law

Natalie Skead

The University of Western Australia Law School

Mark Israel

The University of Western Australia Law School

Anne Hewitt

University of Adelaide - School of Law

Date Written: September 11, 2017

Abstract

Law is a text-based discipline. The comprehension and interpretation of the written word lies at the core of legal reasoning and underpins legal writing. This article argues that developing the skills of critical legal reading is fundamental to all aspects of legal education and ultimately, to the practice of law. Law teachers have mastered and internalised the processes of legal reading, and sometimes therefore overlook the need to teach them explicitly to law students, who are novices. This paper examines the necessary mechanics, techniques and dispositions of critical legal reading in an overall taxonomy, contending that teaching these aspects in explicit and concrete ways is essential for students who are acquiring legal reading skills. Drawing on education, psychology and linguistic research fields, we offer a contemporary account of critical legal reading as a teachable skill and a core component of the undergraduate curriculum in law. The published pdf is also available at: http://epublications.bond.edu.au/ler/vol26/iss1/9/

Keywords: critical legal reading, legal skills, legal education

JEL Classification: K1

Suggested Citation

Steel, Alex and Galloway, Kate and Heath, Mary and Skead, Natalie and Israel, Mark and Hewitt, Anne, Critical Legal Reading: The Elements, Strategies, and Dispositions Needed to Master This Essential Skill (September 11, 2017). 26 (2016) Legal Education Review 187, UNSW Law Research Paper No. 17-60, U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2017-13, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3035659

Alex Steel

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Kate Galloway

Griffith Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus, GU
Nathan 4111
Australia

Mary Heath

Flinders University - School of Law ( email )

Adelaide S.A. 5001
Australia

Natalie Skead

The University of Western Australia Law School ( email )

M253
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia

Mark Israel

The University of Western Australia Law School ( email )

M253
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia

Anne Hewitt (Contact Author)

University of Adelaide - School of Law ( email )

Ligertwood Building
Adelaide 5005, South Australia SA 5005
Australia

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