public law, private law, public-private divide, contemporary understandings of law, legal literature, book review
New Perspectives on the Public-Private Divide is the second installment in a new series, Legal Dimensions, sponsored by the Canadian Association of Law Teachers, the Canadian Law and Society Association, the Canadian Council of Law Deans and the Law Commission of Canada. The ambitions of this series are large: to "examine various issues of law reform form a multidisciplinary perspective [and]... to advance our knowledge about law and society through the analysis of fundamental aspects of law."
The focus on the public-private divide is an excellent choice for the Legal Dimensions Series for no matter how one conceptualizes the relationship, or what one thinks about it, it is inconvertible that the distinction between public and private is a foundational aspect of contemporary understandings of the nature and function of law. The multidisciplinary ambitions of the series are also fulfilled, not only because the authors come from disciplines such as Communications, Geography, Philosophy as well as Law, but also because the lawyers draw heavily on other disciplines such as feminist political economy, governance theory and industrial relations. As such, this volume does "advance our knowledge about law and society" in significant and, in my view, quite exciting ways. However, the third side of the pyramid-- issues of law reform-- is more difficult to get a sense of in this collection. This last point will be the main focus of this brief review.
Richard F Devlin, "Depriving Law Reform of Its Potential? New Perspectives on the Public-Private Divide Law Commission of Canada, Ed. (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2003)," Book Review of New Perspectives on the Public-Private Divide by Law Commission of Canada, ed, (2005) 43:2 Alta L Rev 477.
Alta L Rev