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Wednesday, 24 April 2024 - 4.30pm
Location: 
Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, Room GS4

Speaker: David McIlroy (Gonville & Caius 1990)

“Make-believe” is not just for children. Law, money, and banking are all social practices which are partially constituted by beliefs. Many fairy-tales socialise children by teaching the superiority of civilisation over chaos (Red Riding Hood), by warning of the importance of keeping promises (the Lambton Worm), and by insisting on the need to follow the commands of those in authority (Peter Rabbit). They foster the virtues of law-abiding citizens, without which the make-believe of law cannot be sustained. Some fairy-tales, however, teach that there are circumstances in which civilisation is a cruel joke (The Emperor’s New Clothes), that promises given under duress are not binding (Rumpelstiltskin), and that laws ought not to be obeyed if they are unjust (Bluebeard).

David McIlroy is a practising barrister and Head of Chambers at Forum Chambers. He also Global Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame and Visiting Professor at the Central for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London. His recent lectures include “Wrestling with the gods in Discworld” and “Mere Legality: C.S. Lewis on Objective Morality, Natural Law, and the Rule of Law”.

For information, contact Karen Coats (ksc38@cam.ac.uk)

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