at Seattle University Law Library

November 2001

 

Rattling the cage: toward legal rights for animals. Steven M. Wise; foreword by Jane Goodall. Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus Books. HV4708.W57 2000

From the jacket: Are animals more than property? In this unprecedented, yet long-awaited book, Steven Wise finally breaks through the wall that has separated non-humans from human animals for centuries. He reveals that, while the way we view animals is changing rapidly, the courts remain mired in the dark ages. Even a human lost in a permanent vegetative state enjoys a large set of legal rights. But a chimpanzee who can communicate with language, count, understand the minds of others, feel complex emotions, live in a complex society, and make and use tools has no rights at all.

Rattling the Cage makes stunningly clear how our failure to recognize the fundamental rights of such animals in light of what we now know about their intelligence and emotions creates a glaring contradiction. Not only does this failure allow us to treat animals unjustly but it undermines the foundation of human rights.

Steven Wise draws vividly upon the work that the world's most prominent primatologists have done with the chimpanzees and bonobos with whom they work and share their lives. In this witty, moving, and impeccably researched book, he demonstrates that the cognitive, emotional, and social capacities of these apes should at last entitle them to freedom from imprisonment and abuse. Rattling the Cage has everything needed to convince judges, scientists, lawyers, and the millions of others who care deeply about animals of the injustice of denying them basic legal rights.

Stephen M. Wise, J.D. has practiced animal protection law for twenty years and teaches "Animal Rights Law" at Harvard Law School, Vermont Law School, John Marshall Law School, and in the Masters Program in Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Return to top

   
   

Playing darts with a Rembrandt: public and private rights in cultural treasures. Joseph L. Sax. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. K3791.S29 1999

Some of the world's greatest treasures are hidden away and haven't been seen publicly for decades, sometimes for centuries. Others have been destroyed. They are not stolen property. They are simply private property, and no matter their public significance, the public has no claims on them. A capricious owner of Leonardo da Vinci's notebook would be perfectly within his rights to throw it in the fireplace, as James Joyce's grandson did with letters from the author's daughter, or Warren Harding's widow did with her husband's Teapot Dome papers. This is a book about such rights and why they are wrong.

Some incidents are famous. A great artist's mural is demolished because the rich man who commissioned it is offended by its political implications. One of America's most famous collections is closed to virtually every notable person in the art world, whose requests for visits produce only a postcard from the owner saying "go to Blazes." Scholars who seek access to the Dead Sea Scrolls, monopolized and secreted by a handful of individuals for nearly forty years, are dismissed as "slime," "fleas," "gang-snatchers," and "manure," and told "You will not see these things in your lifetime."

Playing Darts with a Rembrandt explores abuses of ownership of cultural treasures in a wide range of settings, including material of historic and scientific interest as well as art and antiquities. It examines the claims made on behalf of the public for preservation, protection, and access to important artifacts, balancing those claims against proprietary and privacy interests, and discusses the proper role of institutions such as museums and libraries that act as repositories. Acknowledging the complexities that sometimes arise (such as the claims of history against the desire of a great figure's family to withhold private letters), in the end it proposes a new species of qualified ownership, to own an object of great public importance is to become a "fortunate, if provisional, trustee, having no right to deprive others who value the objects as much as they do themselves.

The fascinating stories that comprise the bulk of the book, ranging from dinosaur excavations and the Dead Sea Scrolls to the fate of presidential papers and the secrets held by the Library of Congress, will be of interest to a wide range of general readers. The extensive discussion of collectors and their role should commend the book to those in the art world, as well as to those professionally associated with museums, libraries, and archives. While written in a readable and untechnical way, it should also be of interest to those in the legal community who are interested in the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of our property system.

Joseph L. Sax is Professor of Law, University of California at Berkeley.

Return to top

   
   

Japanese law. Hiroshi Oda. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. KNX68.O33 1999

From the jacket: This is the updated and substantially enlarged edition of Japanese Law, originally published in 1992, which was much acclaimed for being the first comprehensive study of Japanese law to be published by a Japanese academic in English. The book covers the entire range of Japanese law with an emphasis on commercial law covering such topics as the reform of the company law, internationalization of competition law, the financial "Big Bang," and cross border litigations.

Bridging the gap between law in statute book and the actual implementation in practice, the book incorporates all of the most recent important case law as well as reflecting on current debates in legal academic discourse in Japan.

Hiroshi Oda is the Sir Ernest Satow Professor of Japanese Law at the University of London (University College), a professor of the College d'Europe (Brugge), and consultant to Herbert Smith, solicitors. He is a graduate of the Law Faculty of the University of Tokyo, held a chair of Soviet Law there and was granted a LL.D before moving to London. He has held various visiting positions including visiting professorship at Cornell Law School (US). He is also a qualified attorney in Japan and practices Japanese and Russian law in London and Tokyo.

Return to top

   
   

Nothing but the truth: why trial lawyers don't, can't, and shouldn't have to tell the whole truth. Steven Lubet. New York: New York University Press. KF384.Z9L83 2001

From the jacket: Nothing But The Truth presents a novel and engaging analysis of the role of storytelling in trial advocacy. The best lawyers are storytellers, Lubet explains, who take the raw and disjointed observations of witnesses and transform them into coherent and persuasive narratives.

Critics of the adversary system, of course, have little patience for storytelling, regarding trial lawyers as flimflam artists who use sly means and cunning rhetoric to befuddle witnesses and bamboozle juries. Why not simply allow the witnesses to speak their minds, without the distorting influence of lawyers' stratagems and feints?

Lubet demonstrates that the craft of lawyer storytelling is a legitimate technique for determining the truth and—not at all coincidentally—for providing the best defense for the attorney's client. Storytelling can accomplish three important purposes at trial. It helps to establish a "theory of the case," which is a plausible and reasonable explanation of the underlying events, presented in the light most favorable to the attorney's client. Storytelling also develops the "trial theme," which is the lawyer's way of adding moral force to the desired outcome. Most importantly, storytelling provides a coherent "story frame," which organizes all of the events, transactions, and other surrounding facts into an easily understandable narrative context.

To illustrate the various challenges, benefits, and complexities of storytelling, Lubet elaborates the stories of six different trials. Some of the cases are real, including John Brown and Wyatt Earp, while some are fictional, including Atticus Finch and Liberty Valance. In each chapter, the emphasis is on the narrative itself, emphasizing the trial's rich context of facts and personalities. The overall conclusion, as Lubet puts it, is that "purposive storytelling provides a necessary dimension to our adversary system of justice."

Steven Lubet is Professor of Law at Northwestern University.

Return to top

   
   

Feminist perspectives on evidence. Edited by Mary Childs and Louise Ellison. London: Cavendish. KD7499.F45 2000

From the cover: Questions of evidence and proof are fundamental to the operation of substantive law and to our understanding of law as a social practice. The study of evidence involves issues of central concern to feminist scholars, including matters of epistemology, psychology, allocation of risk and responsibility. Debates about evidence, like debates about feminism, involve questioning ideas of rationality and ‘truth’, as well as claims to knowledge both by and about men and women. Social constructions of gender are reflected both explicitly and implicitly in evidential rules and in the way in which evidence is received and understood by judges, jurors and magistrates.

Feminist evidence scholarship is a relatively new but rapidly developing field. This collection brings together previously unpublished work by feminist legal scholars from different jurisdictions. In these essays, they explore the contributions of feminist theory and methodology to the understanding of the law of evidence. The chapters look at: feminist theory and the rationalist tradition of evidence scholarship; witnesses and the adversarial system; corroboration; evidence in tribunal proceedings; sexual history evidence in rape cases; hearsay; the gendered nature of legal privileges; the influence of evidential rules in settlement before trial; and the use of character evidence in criminal cases.

This book is essential reading for students and researchers in the fields of evidence, legal method and feminist studies.

Mary Childs is Barrister and Solicitor (British Columbia) and Faculty of Law, University of Manchester.

Louise Ellison is in the Department of Law, University of Reading.

Return to top

Return to newsletter