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A Story of Miscarriage: Law in the Media

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Abstract:

This article utilizes the work of the sociologist Niklas Luhmann in order to examine the relationship between law and the media. Luhmann views both law and the media as closed systems of communication, systems which cannot duplicate the meaning of each other's communications. After introducing Luhmann's approach to media reporting, and applying this to the relationship between law and media reporting on law, the article analyses a recent miscarriage of justice case. The case is that of the solicitor Sally Clark who was convicted of a double child killing. Although her first appeal was rejected she succeeded in a second appeal. Media reporting of Sally Clark's case is contrasted with the trial and Court of Appeal judgments to demonstrate the different basis upon which law and the media each construct communications about the same events

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2004.00288.x

Affiliations: Law Department, London School of Economics and Political Science, England

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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