What happens when a court tries to become a “new” court? What happens to the many artifacts of its history—previous laws and jurisprudence, the building that it inhabits, the people who weave in and out of it?
This is the question that grounds Alex Jeffrey
’s new book, The Edge of Law: Legal Geographies of a War Crimes Court
(Cambridge University Press, 2020), which explores the making of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through extensive engagements with the different actors working in and around the Court, as well as with the Court itself, Jeffrey shows how the law is productive of many different edges, which are themselves both practical (in the sense that they reflect real-world conditions) and idealized (in the sense that they allow the law to take responsibility for some things but not others). By looking at the ways that a court that is imagined to be above the small concerns of the world that it inhabits must, in fact, encounter those small concerns, Jeffrey is able to shine light on the ways that courts, too, are socialized.
Dino Kadich is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @dinokadich.