Pictures as precedents the visual turn and the status of figures in judgments

Peter Goodrich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Contemporary expansion of the use of images, photographs, film, animation and other visual media in legal argument has given rise to a practice and subdiscipline of visual advocacy. Less studied and commented on, this scopic dimension to legal practice has also resulted in an increasing use of images in judicial decisions. Recent case law provides examples of an image of an ostrich with its head buried purportedly remonstrating against failure to cite binding precedent, a smiling emoji in a decision relating to child custody, numerous splash pages and online order icons in cases relating to consumer purchases over the net, and many further instances of pictures coming to play the law. This chapter directly addresses the role of the eye and the impact of the visual upon the reasoning of judgments, as also on the status and import of precedents that include pictures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhallacies
Subtitle of host publicationHistorical Intersections of Disability and Masculinity
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780190456368
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Images
  • Justice and vision
  • Precedentt
  • Ratio et imago decidendi
  • Reasons for deciding
  • Visual inferences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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