oa African Yearbook of Rhetoric - Viserbal laws : on an arbitral modality recently adopted in judgments

Volume 9 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2220-2188
  • E-ISSN: 2305-7785




In a long running litigation over home appraisals, mortgages, lending and trade secrets, the parties’ representatives irked the judge. The pleadings were a litany of “dirty lawyer tricks”, the record replete with complaints about stalling, nondisclosure, failure to attend meetings, abusive language, “Rambo tactics” and vexatious filings.1 The inability to observe norms of civility, and the disturbing length and expense of the proceedings, which showed no signs of moving towards a close, led the District Judge to insert four images into a short decision. The pictures are didactic, exhortative, comic, popularising and potentially reorientating. They are also revealing, I will argue, of an emergent novel form of judicial rhetoric, a new symbolaeography or mode of writing that incorporates images and so proffers a sea change in the form of transmission of law.

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