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Legal design for practice, activism, policy and research

Perry-Kessaris, Amanda (2019) Legal design for practice, activism, policy and research. Journal of Law and Society, 46 (2). pp. 185-210. ISSN 0263-323X. (doi:10.1111/jols.12154) (KAR id:71282)


This paper offers an integrated introduction to how, conceptually, to think about what design

can do for law; where, empirically, to find examples of legal design; and how, normatively, to

assess it. It begins by highlighting three lawyerly concerns: the need to communicate; the

need to balance structure and freedom; and the need to be at once practical, critical and

imaginative. Next the paper highlights three features of designerly ways: a commitment to

communication, an emphasis on experimentation, and an ability to make things visible and

tangible. It is proposed that designerly ways can directly improve lawyerly communication;

and that they can also generate new structured-yet-free spaces in which lawyers can be at

once practical, critical and imaginative. The paper then provides examples of legal design in

action across four fields of lawyering: legal practice, legal activism, policy-making and legal

research. Emphasis is placed throughout on the need for a critical approach to legal

design—that is, for legal design to be thought about and done with a commitment to

avoiding, exposing and remedying biases and inequalities. In that spirit, the paper concludes

with an assessment of some of the risks associated with legal design.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/jols.12154
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Depositing User: Sian Robertson
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2018 10:31 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 16:58 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Perry-Kessaris, Amanda.

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