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For any reader needing a concise yet expert explanation of a subject in law The New Oxford Companion to Law is the ideal reference work. Providing greater depth than can be found in legal dictionaries but always accessible to the non-specialist, entries in the Companion cover all areas of law and legal systems and are extensively cross-referenced for ease of navigation. The Companion draws upon the expertise of over 700 scholars and practitioners, offering the widest possible range of perspectives on legal topics. Consisting in over 1700 alphabetically arranged entries, the Companion features: * The fundamentals of all the major areas of law such as criminal law, tax and social security law, human rights law, family and employment law, education law, sports law, international and EU law * The role and workings of legal institutions such as parliaments, courts, law schools, and international bodies such as the EU and the UN * Leading cases, famous trials

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780199290543
ISBN-10: 0199290547
Format: Hardback
(254mm x 179mm x 64mm)
Pages: 1424
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 18-Sep-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Book Review: New Oxford Companion to Law by Peter Cane - Reviewed by (30 Dec 2009)

Professors Cane and Conaghan have produced a foremost, practical reference work on law for all here. It will be of great primary use to scholars, trainees and learners, and also to general readers, and is a welcome addition to the ‘Companion’ series.

This is a great comprehensive and diverse single volume reference work on law during this period of constant flux for all aspects of our changing legal world at the present time.

The book provides unrivalled encyclopaedic coverage of the fundamental major areas of law, from specific laws to crimes, cases, personalities, legal events, the role of law in national and international politics, and law’s underlying philosophy... and all in one place!

This Companion project has been written by a team of 700 experts from all over the world. Sarah Carter deserves a special mention for the massive collation exercise and the attractive illustrations which offer access to a vast range of fascinating legal topics addressing such varied questions taken from some of these quoted examples:

• Would a cheque written on a cow be legally acceptable - page 84, Board of Inland Revenue v Haddock

• Which countries allow polygamous marriages? – page 911 Polygamy

• What are the only retail goods that don’t have to be price tagged? – page 929 Price Marking

• What verbal promises must you keep? - page 409 Estoppel

• When did lawyers first appear? - page 706 Legal Profession, History of.

Of interest to a wide range of readers, the Companion has over 1,700 specially commissioned articles, extensive cross referencing and 32 pages of illustrations.

It provides greater depth than can be found in many legal dictionaries whilst remaining accessible to the non-specialist which is one if its greatest strengths, including:

• The fundamentals of all the major areas of law including criminal law, tax and social security law, human rights law, family and employment law, education law, sports law, international and EU law;

• The role and working of legal institutions including parliament, courts, law schools, and international bodies such as the EU and the UN;

• Leading cases, famous trials and distinguished lawyers, past and present; and

• Major events in legal history and major debates in legal history.

The introduction states that ‘this is a book about Law designed first and foremost for non-lawyers’. As lawyers and users ourselves, one quite agrees.

The authors’ hopes and expectations are fulfilled as it instructs, challenges, and entertains with excellent content, those great illustrations and a splendid subject index at the back.

Cane & Conaghan succeed in providing readers with a much better understanding of the significance of law and the legal system. It doesn’t intend to go into heavy specific detail which is a wise decision because the Companion blends the basics to indulge the occasional curiosity with useful suggestions for further reading paths which will not let you put this book down- always an indication of the success of any type of dictionary.

Our laws are in a state of flux so this new Companion is as good as it can be for now, but we can see that there will be a need for regular new editions to keep up with the reform of law as changes take place.

One will read and re-read it to keep up with events.


Author Biography - Peter Cane

Peter Cane has been Professor of Law in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University since 1997. For 20 years before that, he taught law at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Joanne Conaghan studied law at Oxford. She is currently a Professor of Law at the University of Kent at Canterbury, having previously taught at the Universities of Exeter in Devon and San Diego in California. Her areas of research include labour law, tort, and feminist legal theory, and she has published widely in all three fields. She has been Managing Editor of the international journal, Feminist Legal Studies, since 1998. She is a member of the Co-ordinating Committee of the International Network on Transformative Employment and Labour Law (INTELL) and co-editor (with Michael Fischl and Karl Klare) of Labour Law in an Era of Globalization (OUP, 2002) and (with Kerry Rittich) of Labour Law, Work and Family (OUP, 2005).

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