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In the Harry Potter world, the magical population lives among the non-magical Muggle population, but we Muggles are largely unaware of them. This secrecy is by elaborate design and is necessitated by centuries-old hostility to wizards by the non-magical majority. The reasons behind this hostility, when combined with the similarities between Harry Potter-stylemagic and American law, make Rowling’s novels into a cautionary tale for the legal profession that it not treat law as a magic unknowable to non-lawyers. Comprehensibility — as a self-contained, normative value in the enactment interpretation, and practice of law — is given short-shrift by the legal profession. It deserves a far higher place of honor in the law of a liberal republic than it holds today, and lawyers above all ought not to underestimate the importance of this value. In the end, it behooves all in the legal wizards’ craft to make more concerted efforts in writing and in drafting of governing legal texts to aid the non-lawyer public in understanding them. Who wants to be a Muggle? No one, really. The ongoing and critical task of the legal profession is to ensure that governing legal texts and lawyers’ treatment of them do not suffer the vices that “make” non-lawyers into Muggles.

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Carolina Academic Press


Jeffrey E. Thomas & Franklin G. Snyder

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The Law and Harry Potter

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