THE ADVOCATE 155
VOL. 79 PART 1 JANUARY 2021
Stars in November 2020. The award recognizes the leading 40 lawyers under
40 in Canada.
The Alabama Phoenix Rising Law Firm, established in 2003, is located in
Irondale, Alabama. Practice areas include personal injury, wrongful death
and environmental litigation.
James Garner drove a succession of gold-coloured Pontiac Firebirds in the
TV series The Rockford Files. Gretchen Corbett played Rockford’s friend and
attorney, Elizabeth (Beth) Davenport.
As Bruce Peabody and Fairleigh Dickinson observe in their 2004 book
review (published in the Law and Politics Book Review) of Harry Potter and
the Order of the Phoenix, “law is a quiet but insistent presence” throughout
the novel and throughout the Harry Potter series more generally:
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX opens with the
protagonist defending himself and his cousin against a pair of wraith like
“dementors.” Harry staves off their assault, but only by employing magic
in an area populated by “Muggles” (non-magical humans), an act that is
prohibited by “paragraph C of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction
of Underage Sorcery” and “section thirteen of the International Confederation
of Wizards’ Statute of Secrecy” (p.140). Harry’s use of sorcery, in
apparent violation of these prohibitions, is scrutinized and initially punished
by the Ministry of Magic, the bureaucratic and lawmaking body in
charge of regulating all things magical.
In this narrative and in the Potter tales in general, law is a quiet but insistent
presence. Throughout the series, many of Harry’s most important
decisions turn on whether to break or uphold various school rules or Ministry
decrees. Indeed, Harry is often depicted as someone outside of the
normal law. “The usual rules do not seem to apply with you, Potter,”
declares his recurrent tormentor, Severus Snape (p.531).
Three legal themes are especially prominent in HARRY POTTER AND
THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. First, Rowling invites us to reconsider
the traditional dichotomy between the rule of law and the rule of individuals.
In general, Rowling’s work evinces a high regard for the choices and
autonomy of individuals in opposition to formal institutions, including
legal organizations. Indeed, laws and regulations often work best when
their authority is synonymous with the authority of a single person. For
example, in the first four novels of the Potter series, Albus Dumbledore,
the headmaster of Hogwarts, presides over the school with minimal
external constraints or formal guidelines.
But in HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, Rowling
shows greater concern for how the rule of law can be denigrated when it
becomes subsumed by the capricious choices of individuals. In the book,
legal and moral transgressions typically follow when the impersonal and