Boycott, Resistance and the Law: Cause Lawyering in Conflict and Authoritarianism

Kieran McEvoy, Anna Bryson
2021 Modern law review  
This article examines the role of cause lawyers in conflicted or authoritarian contexts where the chances of legal victory are often minimal. Drawing upon the literature on resistance, performance, memory studies, legal consciousness and the sociology of lawyers, the paper examines how cause lawyers challenge and subvert power. The paper first explores the tactics and strategies of cause lawyers who boycott legal proceedings and the relationship between such boycotts and broader political
more » ... les, legitimacy and law. It then examines why and how cause lawyers engage in fairly hopeless legal struggles as acts of instrumental resistance (the 'sand in the cogs'), transforming courts into sites of symbolic resistance, and using law as a form of memory work. The paper argues that boycott of and resistance through the courts can counter the use of law as an instrument of wickedness and a tool of denial and preserves a 'stubborn optimism' in the rule of law.
doi:10.1111/1468-2230.12671 fatcat:oemtkhpifrag5jxsusahxqulnm