Images of Justice: A European Survey of Legal Symbolism

LE STUDIUM Multidisciplinary Journal, 2021, 5, 58-61

Valérie Hayaert 1, 2, 3
1 LE STUDIUM Institute for Advanced Studies, 45000 Orléans, France
2 Käte Hamburger Kolleg "Law as Culture", University of Bonn - Deutschland
3 Centre for Advanced Studies in the Renaissance (CESR)/CNRS, University of Tours, 37000, France


In Europe, most of today’s courthouses are symbolically silent. Because Justice not only needs to be done but also needs to be seen to be done, this project intends to exemplify the claim that images of justice have an important role to play in the maintenance of social bonds. The power of judicial images is a useful ally to revive the foundational principles of fair trial and due process. Drawing inspiration from visual studies, cultural legal history, legal anthropology, this multidisciplinary investigation aims at revealing the essential dynamic function of a civic allegory: its composition or invention, its role into the dissemination of meaning and the ways in which it was perceived by different audiences, in order to question to which extent this device fulfilled didactic, persuasive, mnemonic, evidential, or deontological functions.


Legal Symbolism, Law and Humanities, Art History, Courthouse Architecture, Legal Iconography, Legal Iconology, Criminal Justice, Emblem Studies, Cultural Legal History, European Rule of Law
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Le STUDIUM Multidisciplinary Journal