Two books of interest to the administrative justice community have recently been published. Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment by Michael Adler subjects benefit sanctions in the UK to a critique from the perspective of administrative justice. Nobody’s Law: Legal Consciousness and Legal Alienation in Everyday Life by Marc Hertogh examines legal consciousness and, through empirical research, explores the erosion of legal legitimacy in everyday life.
Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment? Benefit Sanctions in the UK, Michael Adler
Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment? Benefit Sanctions in the UK subjects the largely hidden phenomenon of benefit sanctions in the UK to sustained examination and critique. It comprises twelve chapters dealing with the terms ‘cruel’, ‘inhuman’ and ‘degrading’ that are used as a benchmark for assessing benefit sanctions; benefit sanctions as a matter of public concern; the historical development of benefit sanctions in the UK; changes in the scope and severity of benefit sanctions; conditionality and the changing relationship between the citizen and the state; the impact and effectiveness of benefit sanctions; benefit sanctions and administrative justice; the role of law in protecting the right to a social minimum; a comparison of benefit sanctions with court fines; benefit sanctions and the rule of law; and what, if anything, can be done about benefit sanctions.
Each chapter ends with a paragraph that attempts to highlight the most salient points in that chapter, and the book ends with a short conclusion in which benefit sanctions are assessed against the chosen benchmark.
Michael Adler is Emeritus Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Edinburgh.
Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment? Benefit Sanctions in the UK, Michael Adler (Palgrave Pivot, 2018), https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783319903552
Nobody’s Law: Legal Consciousness and Legal Alienation in Everyday Life, Marc Hertogh
Nobody’s Law shows how people – who are disappointed, disenchanted, and outraged about the justice system – gradually move away from law. Using detailed case studies and combining different theoretical perspectives, this book explores the legal consciousness of ordinary people, business people, and street-level bureaucrats in the Netherlands. The empirical research in this study tells an original and alternative narrative about the role of law in everyday life. While previous studies emphasise the law’s hegemony and argue that it’s ‘all over’, Hertogh shows that legal proliferation makes it harder for people to know, and subsequently identify with, the law. As a result, official law has become increasingly remote and irrelevant to many people. The central finding presented in this highly topical text is that these developments signal a process of ‘legal alienation’— a gradual and mundane process with potentially serious consequences for the legitimacy of law. A timely and original study, this book will be of particular interest to scholars in the fields of law and society, socio-legal studies and legal theory.
Marc Hertogh is Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
Nobody’s Law: Legal Consciousness and Legal Alienation in Everyday Life, Marc Hertogh (Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2018), https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9781137603968
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