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Critical legal studies has been one of the most exciting developments within contemporary jurisprudence. Although it was originally an American phenomenon, it has now made headway in Britain. This is the first work of contemporary jurisprudence to systematically apply a critical philosophy to the substance of the common law. Specifically, the book develops a novel and interdisciplinary account of politics and cultural significance of the institutions of law. Contributions from leading British and American scholars raise the essential political and ethical challenges facing the law in postmodernity. The book explores the breakdown of traditional conceptions of legal reason. Drawing upon diverse disciplines - psychoanalysis, phenomenology, linguistics and ethical philosophy - the authors develop conceptions of the contingency of law and the plurality of legal experience. Justice has recently been seen to miscarry. It is the task of critical legal studies to raise the question of justice in relation to the substantive disciplines of common law such as constitutional law, human rights, evidence and intellectual property.;The book returns to the theories of the text and to the texts of the law both as archives of repression and as resources for cultural change.