Law's Mistakes
192 pages, 6 x 9
Paperback
Release Date:13 Jan 2016
ISBN:9781625341938
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Law's Mistakes

University of Massachusetts Press
From false convictions to botched executions, from erroneous admission of evidence in a criminal trial to misunderstandings that arise in the process of creating contracts, law is awash in mistakes. These mistakes can be unintentional deviations from expected practices or the result of intentional actions that produce unintended negative consequences. They may become part of a process of response and correction or be accepted as an inevitable cost of action. Some mistakes are external to law itself, such as errors in an agreement made by two private parties. Others are made by legal actors in the course of their work; for example, a police officer's failing to obtain a search warrant when one was required.
The essays in Law's Mistakes explore the things that law recognizes as errors and the way it responds to them. They identify the jurisprudential and political perspectives that underlie different understandings of what is or is not a legal mistake, and examine the fraught, contested, and evolving relationship between law and error. And they offer templates for thinking about what mistakes can tell us about the aspirations and limits of law, and for understanding how our imagining of law is enabled and shaped by its juxtaposition to a condition labeled mistake.
In addition to the volume editors, contributors include Paul Schiff Berman, Sonali Chakravarti, Jody L. Medeira, Stewart Motha, Kunal Parker, and Jordan Steiker.
The very question of what constitutes a legal error, as opposed to poor judgment or unjust law, lies at the crux of Law's Mistakes, which brings together an impressive range of scholarly perspectives. Rather than consigning errors to the realm of rare exceptions, the contributors to this volume insist that mistakes need to be engaged as part of the very fabric of law.'—Ravit Reichman, author of The Affective Life of Law: Legal Modernism and the Literary Imagination
Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College. Lawrence Douglas is James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College. Martha Merrill Umphrey is director of the Center for Humanistic Inquiry and Bertrand H. Snell 1894 Professor in American Government in the Department of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College.
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