Presentation: Linda Mulcahy on Legal Architecture and the Shifts Towards the Virtual Trial

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Research Imge © Courtesy of Model Court
Presentation: Linda Mulcahy on Legal Architecture and the Shifts Towards the Virtual Trial

155 Vauxhall Street
London SE11 5RH
United Kingdom
July 4th, 2013 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

+44 (0)20 7587 5202
Wed-Sun 12-6; by appointment


Linda Mulcahy, professor at LSE’s Department of Law, speaks about her research on the history of legal architecture and more recent shifts towards the virtual trial.

Her presentation will be followed by a Q&A.

More on Linda Mulcahy’s Research:

Mulcahy's 2010 book Legal Architecture: Justice, Due Process and the Place of Law addresses how the environment of the trial can be seen as a physical expression of our relationship with ideals of justice. It provides an alternative account of the trial, which charts the troubled and contested history of notions of due process and participation. In contrast to visions of judicial space as neutral, Mulcahy argues that understanding the factors that determine the internal design of the courthouse and courtroom are crucial to a broader and more nuanced understanding of how trials produce the outcomes they do. It is contested that the partitioning of the courtroom into zones and the restriction of movement within it are the result of turf wars about who can legitimately participate in the legal arena and call the judiciary to account. The gradual containment of the public, the increasing amount of space allocated to advocates, and the creation of dedicated space for journalists and the jury, all have complex histories that deserve attention. These issues are not only of historical significance. Across jurisdictions, questions are now being asked about the internal configurations of the courthouse and courtroom, and whether standard designs meet the needs of modern participatory democracies. Why do we persist in incarcerating defendants presumed innocent in high security glass docks? How do modern technologies such as the use of remote testimony by video link change the impression gained of remote participants and how their evidence is received? Are we witnesses to the dematerialisation of the trial? Are modern courthouses in mature democracies designed in ways which realise their professed status as public spaces?

About Linda Mulcahy:

Linda Mulcahy is a Professor in the law Department at the LSE. Her research interests lie in the field of dispute resolution and her published work focuses on the evolution and dynamics of disputes, mediated settlement and the trial. She has received a number of grants from the ESRC, AHRC, Department of Health, Nuffield Foundation and Lotteries Fund in support of her work, which has a strong interdisciplinary flavour. In addition to degrees in law she has a PhD in sociology and is currently studying for an MA in the History of Art. A former chair of the UK Socio-Legal Studies Association she is also an editor of Social and Legal Studies. In recent years Linda has become interested in the relationship between architecture and due process and her book Legal Architecture: Justice, Due Process and the Place of Law was published by Routledge in 2010. Drawing on the methodological insights developed in this work Mulcahy is currently writing her next book entitled Visual Jurisprudence: three things that art can tell law about itself, as well as conducting a study of what nineteenth century sketches for penny weeklies can tell us about the gendered dynamics of the modern court room.


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