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The idea of home in law.

Fox O'Mahony, Lorna (2005) 'The idea of home in law.', Home cultures., 2 (1). pp. 25-49.


The idea of ‘home’ is problematic for lawyers. Although the significance of home sometimes appears to be acknowledged in legal discourse, the proposition that home can encapsulate meanings beyond the physical stricture of the house or its capital value continues to present conceptual difficulties for lawyers. Starting from the reference to ‘respect for home’ in the European Convention on Human Rights, this article considers why courts are reluctant to give effect to any recognition of the non-financial values of home, with the result that the financial claims of secured creditors and landlords overwhelmingly prevail over the ‘home’ interests of occupiers. These issues are considered in the context of law’s preference for rationality and objectively definable, ‘provable’ interests. The article suggests, however, that the idea of home in law is not unworkable, but rather underdeveloped. A number of ad hoc examples are presented as evidence of law’s capacity to recognise ideas linked to home in order to further particular policy aims, so long as this does not run counter to the overarching goals of the system. Finally, the article evaluates avenues through which lawyers could engage productively with home theorists in other disciplines to develop a more coherent legal concept of home.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Concept of Home, Socio-legal.
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Record Created:15 Jul 2011 12:35
Last Modified:11 Aug 2011 16:00

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