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Imago Decidendi

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On the Common Law of Images

image of Brill Research Perspectives in Art and Law

The digitization of law and of law reporting has greatly facilitated the transmission and use of images in legal decisions. While advocates have long been aware of the persuasive value of graphs, photographs, film, animatrix, the manipulation of images in judicial decisions has received little sustained attention. This article reviews the literature on the visual turn in legal studies and applies its lessons, historical and theoretical, to the apprehension of the juristic value and precedential status of images in judgments. The visual apparatuses of law are increasingly becoming its primary mode not only of transmission but also of reasoning, authorizing and judging. Such a dramatic shift in forum and medium to the online and digital necessitates a comparable transfer of method, a movement to sensuous apprehension, ad apparentiam, by appearance, in place of the traditional hermeneutic ad similia, or by analogy.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of Law, Cardozo School of Law New YorkVisiting Professor, School of Social Science, New York University Abu Dhabi


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