Legal geography investigates the co-constitutive relationship of people, place and law. The cross discipline proceeds from the premise that the legal co-creates the spatial and the social while the social and the spatial co-create the legal. There is reflexivity. Once we accept this premise, however, the hard work begins. How do we work out what 'work' legal provisions and practices are doing, how do their spatial and social settings inform them? And how are different aspects of legal practice creating spaces - how do municipal regulations determine 'amenity', how do banking rules affect the provision of homes and, my favourite, how do property rules and practices govern?
To explore these questions I've been working with Luke Bennett on trying to both understand how legal geographical techniques can be used to explain and explore case studies, in local governance, housing, public space or property. Our essay "Legal Geography: Becoming Spatial Detectives" suggests that here is much to learn by both legal scholars and geographers becoming ‘spatial detectives’ – of learning, Sherlock Holmes-like, to search out the presence and absence of spatialities in legal practice and of law’s traces and effects embedded within places.
Luke and I have also worked together to put together sessions on Legal Geography at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) annual conference in London each year. Here is the call for 2013 and here is the call for 2014. We have co-edited a special edition of the International Journal of Law and the Built Environment with papers from the 2013 RGS conference, which is available here.