Aesthetics of Law and Culture: Texts, Images, Screens

ISBN: 978-0-76231-151-4, eISBN: 978-1-84950-304-4

ISSN: 1059-4337

Publication date: 30 December 2004


Our legal system has a well-established set of laws and procedures for injured people to seek redress for their injuries. Over the years universalised legal injury narratives have developed. In other words, repeated applications of the law have generated standard, abstract, generalised versions of individual injury narratives. Accordingly, from any particular injury narrative, there can be distilled an “essential or abstract” legal injury narrative which is the same universal narrative that can be distilled from other like cases (Klinck, 1992). It seems likely that there are different versions of the legal injury narrative that have developed due to an accumulation of a large number of similar cases. For example, there is likely to be a version of the legal injury narrative for injuries arising out of each of motor vehicle accidents, workplace incidents, occupier’s liability, medical malpractice or defective products. However, this paper will demonstrate that underlying all of these versions is the generic legal injury narrative with particular and common characteristics. This paper develops the idea of the universal “legal injury narrative” – that is, a legally idealised narrative about injury, based on a number of implicit rules about the way injuries occur and their consequences. The legal injury narrative is the framework by which other injury narratives are judged.


Hardy, S. (2004), "7. INJURY AS MELODRAMA", Kenyon, A. and Rush, P. (Ed.) Aesthetics of Law and Culture: Texts, Images, Screens (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 34), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 155-177. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1059-4337(04)34007-X

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