Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Remembering Gary Slapper

Last night, the Times of London's Twitter account noted the passing of its longtime "Weird Cases" columnist, Gary Slapper:
Slapper's name should be familiar to many legal researchers, as the author of several leading textbooks on the law of England: The English Legal System and How the Law Works. As the legal news website Legal Cheek noted today, he was also a prolific humorist, in his Times column and on social media. In addition to several editions of Slapper's seminal textbooks, the Goodson Law Library collection also contains Slapper's collection of Weird Cases: Comic and Bizarre Cases from Courtrooms Around the World. To see which of his works are available in the Goodson Law Library collection, try a search of the Duke University Libraries catalog for the author's name.

An obituary for Gary Slapper is available at the Times Gazette. Memorials are also being posted on Twitter, with many readers highlighting Slapper's 2012 column, "Is Studying Law Boring?", as a personal inspiration for their law studies. There, Slapper enthused about the unique adaptability of a law degree, and highlighted law's importance to every aspect of daily life:
Although law is sometimes portrayed as a dull discipline pursued by ethically dubious practitioners, it is a spellbindingly vivid and varied subject which affects every part of human life. Physics, history, Spanish, business, architecture, and other subjects are all vital disciplines but law permeates into every cell of social life. Law governs everything from the embryo to exhumation. Law regulates the air we breathe, the food and drink that we consume, our travel, sexuality, family relationships, our property, sport, science, employment, education, and health, everything in fact from neighbour disputes to war…

Professor Slapper's words – and works on the English legal system – will have the same enduring impact as the legal precedent he highlighted in his writings.