Lawyers as Translators — David Turton on the legal geographies of extractive industries

I’ve written elsewhere on the blog about the increasing use of technologies by courts to try and improve access to justice, alongside a long-standing research issue I hold in the ways in which communities are drawn in to legal processesA new paper by David Turton in The Extractive Industries and Society explores some of these issues in relation to legal practices in the Australian coal and gas seam debate. The paper highlights the significance of lawyers as ‘translators’ of legal knowledge, while identifying specific forums where the concerns of community members were re-articulated in legal terms. For me, this focus on the liminal spaces at the ‘edges’ of law are particularly significant: sites where Turton traces the potential significance of particular economic and political concerns in the operation of processes of translation. It is great to see legal geographical analysis used to explore how particular vested interests may engage in — or more significantly sidestep — legal processes.

Alex Jeffrey, July 2015

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