There is a growing interest in geographical approaches within law, particularly a focus on how to 'do' legal geography. I’ve considered this in two papers. The first is a chapter called “Freedom of Expression and Spatial (Imaginations of) Justice” that highlights the the lack of a spatial understanding of justice in European legal space(s). It focuses on a case study from the ECtHR: Raël v Switzerland (2012), moving on from the starting point for legal geography that law, space and society are mutually constituted and reflexive. It draws on the work of Henri Lefebvre and Hannah Arendt to explore how spatio-legal imaginations underpin legal decision-making and that without accepting that decisions of doctrine also draw on the lived, phenomenologies of public space, where spatiality thickens and thins, we cannot truly understand how these decisions are being made. The chapter contributes to Europe's Justice Deficit? (Hart, 2015) a collection of essays edited by Dimitry Kochenov, Gráinne de Búrca and Andrew Williams.
The second paper that considers how to ‘do’ legal geography is a chapter called “Reading Cases Spatially” for a the forthcoming (2019) Routledge Handbook on Socio-Legal Theory and Methods edited by Naomi Creutzfeld, Marc Mason and Kirsten McConnachie. My chapter considers the question of methodology in legal geography, arguing that there is no single way of ‘doing’ legal geography and that a provincial approach is desirable. One colleague commenting suggested that the word ‘provincial’ might be taken to be derogatory but I wonder whether we shouldn’t try to reclaim it, like parochial, with a focus on place and specificity, in contrast to abstract or global certainties. So I have left the word in.
Both papers suggest that legal geography works from the site up as well as from the text down, arguing legal decisions, the spaces and the social contexts in which such codified disputes take place, are all mutually constitutive.