Deus ex Lege (W.S. Gilbert and the law)

lordchancellorAs you may know, I am a big fan of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. I am also a lawyer. Imagine how pleased I was then to discover an academic paper on W.S. Gilbert and both his view of the law and the law’s view of his work!

From that august publication, the Oregon Law Review in 2004, Professor Jeffrey G. Sherman brings us “Law’s Lunacy: W.S. Gilbert and His Deus ex Lege – 46 pages of a near comprehensive treatment of Gilbert’s legal philosophy. I heartily recommend this article.

W.S. Gilbert was himself a barrister before he was a famous playwright, but not a very successful one.  However, it meant he was well placed to ridicule and satirise the legal system and the legal profession.

PoliceThe article is, understandably, concerned with pronouncements from the US Courts and their use of Gilbert’s works, which leaves open the possibility of a gifted British blogger writing an equivalent piece from a UK perspective. Someone who agrees that …

The Law is the true embodiment. Of everything that’s excellent. It has no kind of fault or flaw, And I, my Lords, embody the Law.

-Iolanthe

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