Richards, SC (2015) Unearthing bureaucratic legal consciousness: government officials' legal identification and moral ideals. International Journal of Law in Context, 11 (3). pp. 299-319. ISSN 1744-5523

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The legal consciousness of citizens receiving the law has been extensively explored but little attention has been paid to the legal consciousness of individuals applying the law. This paper draws on interviews with forty government officials in the Refugee Review Tribunal of Australia to address this concern, analysing how government bureaucrats think about law. In doing so, it identifies a series of underlying ideals informing the officials’ legal identification narratives. It presents a heuristic that positions bureaucratic legal identification in relation to broader moral ideals, demonstrating that as government officials’ identification with law increases so too does their idealisation of intellect and information processing. Conversely, as the officials’ identification with law decreases, their idealisation of experience and truth verification increases. These findings provide new insights into how law works in government, revealing bureaucratic legal identification as structured according to broader moral values, and thereby unearthing legal consciousness’ latent metacognitive dimension.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © Cambridge University Press - This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Cambridge University Press at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2017 13:35
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2019 09:37

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