Introduction to the Special Issue

Philip Leith, Editor, European Journal of Current Legal Issues.

It gives me pleasure to introduce a special issue (in its 21st year) of the newly retitled European Journal of Current Legal Issues. This special issue is given initial impetus from the two major publications by Alan Paterson detailing his socio-legal research into the UK Supreme Courts – The Law Lords and Final Judgement: one derived from a PhD thesis and the latter much later in a distinguished career. Our authors, with equally distinguished careers as students of the judiciary - were asked to present a paper which reflected their own researches in the light of Paterson’s work, and we can indeed see a common underpinning in these papers of the social nature of law as it is developed – at the highest level - through interpersonal interaction and group dynamics. Paterson also updates the continuing dynamics since the publication of The final Judgment.

Our view of ‘what law is’ can never go back to the positivist tradition which prevailed prior to publication of The Law Lords – we now have a much richer, and more realistic view of the formation of law, thanks to Paterson and those who followed him.

Less happily, the death of Bruce Grant brings sadness. Bruce was responsible for setting the journal up and keeping it active over the past twenty years. Having been involved in open access publishing for several years, I know just how difficult it will have been: though open access is much praised, the institutional context to support it remains poor. That the Web Journal of Current Legal Issues has survived for twenty years and mutated into a more European oriented journal is only because of the efforts of Bruce.