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ICCS WPS 27:The Lawlessness of Law and Order 「法紀之無法」

Author/Speaker|John Nguyet Erni 陳錦榮

Publication Date|2020-06

Keywords|Law’s continuum; Hong Kong protest movement; Police violence; Critical legal realism


Critical legal theorists have long realized that the law has often been given a privileged position without being explicitly defended in theoretical terms. In practical terms, many who work with the law realize that no matter how it adheres to black-letter doctrines, the law is subject to forms of governance, technical discourses of the legal science, political and economic imperatives, social consciousness, culture wars, and so on. In this essay, I focus on the fact that the civil disobedience and unrest seen in the unprecedented protest movement of Hong Kong in 2019 challenged government’s repression by raising important legal questions. Through social activism, the protest movement in fact raised some serious questions about the law’s lawfulness. To unpack this, I take a discursive approach through the lens of critical legal realism, which views the law as an ambiguous whole constituted by a variety of elements appearing between the two poles that anchor the very meaning of law, namely “lawfulness” on one end of the pole and “lawlessness” on the other. To help us answer some of the tough questions about citizen disobedience and the seeming loss of integrity of the law and the police in the Hong Kong protest movement, it is argued that we scrutinize the “continuum of the law” in relation to two vital elements in human rights practice, namely legal-political standards and the legality of police violence. 


Author's Bio:
John Nguyet Erni(陳錦榮)現為香港浸會大學馮漢柱基金全人教育講座教授 , 及人文及創作系系主任。研究範圍廣泛,包括國際和亞洲文化研究、人權的法理批評、青年流行消費等等。是9本書的作者或編輯,包括: Law and Cultural Studies: A Critical Rearticulation of Human Rights(2019, Routledge); Visuality, Emotions, and Minority Culture: Feeling Ethnic (2017, Springer); 若隱若現:香港電影的非華人形象(1970至2010 年代)(2016, Cinezin Press); Cultural Studies of Rights: Critical Articulations (2014, Routledge); Internationalizing Cultural Studies(2005年與Ackbar Abbas合著, Blackwell)等等。


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