Engaging with the underlying social context in which emotions are a motivational

force, Law and the Passions provides a uniquely inclusive commentary on the significance

and influence of emotions in the history and continuing development of

legal judgment, policy formation, legal practice and legal dogma.


Although the emotionality of the law and the use of emotional tropes in legal

discourse has become an established focus in recent scholarship, the extent to

which emotion and the passions have informed decision-making, decision-avoidance

and legal reasoning – rather than as simply an adjunct – is still a matter for

critical analysis. As evidenced in a range of illustrative legal cases, emotions have

been instrumental in the evolution of key legal principles and have produced many

controversial judgments. Addressing the latent influence of fear, hate, love and

compassion, the book explores the mutability of law and its transformative power,

especially when faced with fluctuating social mores. The textual nature of law and

the impact of literary forms on legal actors are also critically examined to further

elucidate the idea of law-making as both rational and emotional, and significantly

as an essential activity of the empathic imagination. To this end, it is suggested

that critical scholarship on law, the passions and emotions not only advances our

understanding of the inner workings of law, it constitutes a fundamental part of

our moral reasoning, and has the capacity to articulate the conditions for a more

dynamic, adaptable, ethical and effective legal institution.


This interdisciplinary book will be of interest to scholars and students in the

fields of law and literature, legal theory, legal philosophy, law and the humanities,

legal aesthetics, sociology of law, politics, law and policy, human rights, general jurisprudence

and social justice, as well as cultural studies.

chapter |3 pages


chapter 1|24 pages

No slave to reason

The significance of the passions in mapping the legal landscape

chapter 2|24 pages

Law, emotions and aesthetic justice

chapter 3|34 pages

Law as fear

chapter 4|30 pages

Law as hate

chapter 5|28 pages

Law as compassion

chapter 6|31 pages

Law as love