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Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice

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Legal reasoning; Evidence and fact determination; Human rights; Aboriginal rights claims; Sexual assault; Contracts; Self-defence


As a part of a larger project called "The Challenge of Change: Rethinking Law as Discipline," the authors seek "to identify and examine current challenges to the conceptual underpinnings and methodology of the traditional legal paradigm." In focusing on the construction of "'fact," the meanings of knowledge and the interplay between cultural understandings and the law of evidence, the authors note that the shifting boundaries of the discipline of law are engendering debates about what is marginal and what is core. They draw on challenges posed by the increasing diversity of producers and consumers of law in searching for the core idea of what lawyers do in contrast to, for instance, anthropologists, and argue that a core idea of law is to engage in legal reasoning that pays attention to the value of human rights in their broadest sense. In examining methods whereby the knowledge which grounds legal factual determinations can be made consistent with fundamental human rights such as equality and access to justice, the authors draw on a variety of legal topics-Aboriginal rights claims, sexual assault, contracts and self-defence.