I Beg to Differ: Questions about Law, Language and Dissent

LAW, MYSTERY, AND THE HUMANITIES: COLLECTED ESSAYS, Logan Atkinson & Diana Majury, eds., Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Forthcoming

23 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2007  

Marie-Claire Belleau

Laval University

Rebecca Johnson

University of Victoria - Faculty of Law

Abstract

In this paper, we consider the linking of law and language in the space of the judicial opinion, interested particularly in those insights about law and language that can be gained by focusing attention on the space of judicial dissent. In Section 1, we offer some introductory remarks about language and the operations of force and persuasion in judicial decision-making, turning our attention in Section 2 to the specific practice of judicial dissent. In Section 3, we describe a category of dissenting practices that implicate what could be called a 'noetic' space of judgment, and consider how the resources of language might operate in this space. In Section 4, we examine the deployment of language in majority and dissenting opinions, using Mossop v. Canada (a Canadian same-sex family case) as an example. We suggest that there is much to be learned about dissent and judgment by taking an interdisciplinary approach that draws law and the humanities into closer dialogue.

Keywords: law, humanities, judicial decision making, dissent, language, persuasion, reason, passion, narrative, family, noetic space, rhetorical devices, sexual orientation, Mossop v. Canada, Egan and Nesbitt v. Canada, Reference re Same Sex Marriage

Suggested Citation

Belleau, Marie-Claire and Johnson, Rebecca, I Beg to Differ: Questions about Law, Language and Dissent. LAW, MYSTERY, AND THE HUMANITIES: COLLECTED ESSAYS, Logan Atkinson & Diana Majury, eds., Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=972631

Marie-Claire Belleau

Laval University ( email )

Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

Rebecca Johnson (Contact Author)

University of Victoria - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 2400, STN CSC
McGill at Ring Rd (Fraser Bldg)
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 3H7
Canada
250-721-8187 (Phone)
250-721-8146 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uvic.ca/rjohnson/

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