chapter  3
54 Pages

A burial party walks

This chapter constructs a narrative vignette of a burial party that walked in 1799. It illustrates how even very small and localised movements of common law are also part of the European appropriation of the New World, constituting movements of a European nomos that impose both order and place. In common law traditions, there is a general rule or rebuttable presumption against retrospectivity. The chapter describes that common law moves retrospectively through the exercise of jurisdiction in the hearing and judgment of R v Powellitself, marking prior bodies, events and even possibly lands, this is not the only jurisdictional movement occurring. It also illustrates walking as a basic technology and material practice of common law movement, and what these movements might mean in terms of common law's place. Paying attention to the modes and forms of movement as the burial party walks, it becomes possible to notice some of the ways in which common law moves.