Cover photograph: Ethos before LawCourtesy and Copyright of the Photographer: Werner PadarinSculpture of Ethos by Tom Bass
This fourth edition of Law in Context not only updates the text by reference to the latest thinking and developments in the broad area of ‘law in context’, but also introduces readers to the wider social, political and regulatory contexts of law.
Bottomley and Bronitt, as in previous editions, expose readers to the multitude of contexts (some explicit, others implicit) that affect how law is made, broken and enforced by the state or individual citizens. The fundamental ideals of law – such as the Rule of Law – rest on cherished liberal values, though the authors constantly encourage readers not to accept uncritically the rhetoric of law, but to test these assumptions through empirical eyes.
This contextual and critical approach to law, laid out in Chapter 1 and 2, is further developed through specific studies of Gender and Race. Complementing these substantive critiques of law, later chapters examine some of the institutional limitation of law and justice through chapters on access to justice, the law-making process, and regulation. The final chapter, which serves as an epilogue, looks to the broader challenges for law in an age of globalisation through case studies on terrorism and global business regulation.