In my first year of studying law I do four modules, tort, contract, public and law and society. So far I think law and society is probably my most favoured. It is nice to escape from the tedious hours of trying to get my head around contract and Tort. Putting aside the more traditional areas of law, studying law and society allows me to engage in a topic with a little bit more empathy and social thought.
I find it interesting because it explores the wider context in which the law operates and with a hopeful future career in law in mind, it structures me to develop critical perspectives on the relationship of law to society and theoretical perspectives of jurspudeince.
The course objective is to give students a broader perspective of the nature and theories of law, social policy and the framework in which law is practised both nationally and internationally. The course examines several areas within the study of legal thinking, theory and development. The syllabus also reflects contemporary debates in socio-legal studies. Therefore, I feel I can throughly engage with law and society because my personality does tend to steer towards a more sociological perspective on life, and I can reminisce on my time studying sociology and history at sixth form.
Thinking about an upcoming essay which counts towards a heavy 50% of my module, I decided to read “Equality” the legal framework by Bob Hepple.
Hepple’s book discusses and anyalsises the depth of the statute the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act is seen simply as one element jn the process of social change. “There is extensive evidence that a high level of income inequality persists in Britain and that deep-seated and systemic difference in economic outcomes exists between men and women, between different ethnic groups, between social class groups, and between those living in disadvantaged and other areas”.All these facts are ones which I was already aware of, however Hepple made me realise how far any form of real equality is in the hands of the British the legal system.
“Wether we rely on negative concepts like direct or indirect discrimination or a broader positive notion of ‘equal opportunity’, or even ‘fair opportunity’, it would be illusory to believe that these can be translated into legal terms of art which will lead, without more. To the promised land of [transformative] equality…Law is both too specific and too selective in its choice of the causes in the ‘cycle of disadvantage’ to be capable in itself, of delivering real substantive equal rights”
The law limits the extent of “solidarity” and “social inclusion” we can achieve in Britain. The law cannot be expected to remove the power that privileged elites excersize over disadvantaged groups, ‘but it can help to direct that power into legitimate procedures which recognise their interests’
The Eqaulity Act 2010 makes a significant shift from politics and the law, but the ideal of equal opportunity and equal rights has not yet been fully achieved. It makes me question if it will ever be possible..law is changing all the time and constantly updating, but it is too fundamental to progress to such an extent?