Law in Popular Culture

'Vampire' Law Prof Takes Academic Look at Zombie Litigation


Just in time for Halloween, a Canadian law professor has put together a round-up of vampire and zombie references in legal jurisprudence.

There have been more than 200 such mentions during the past 50 years, with the vast majority in the United States rather than her own country, found Sharon Sutherland of the University of British Columbia. A teacher of theater as well as law classes, she has long been interested in the fictional world of the undead as portrayed in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other popular television programs, according to the Ubyssey.

Sometimes judges use silly vampire references to make clear to everyone that they’re not taking a frivolous case seriously, Sutherland tells UBC Reports.

“But they’re also clearly drawing on things their audience is going to understand and connect with, which is why we found a lot of references in case law that track popular culture,” Sutherland continues. “Zombies are in, so it would be very surprising if judges didn’t make some kinds of references to them. It communicates well and it’s definitely a dramatic metaphor that captures people’s attention.”

Her latest article, Corporate Zombies and the Perils of ‘Zombie Litigation,’ has been submitted for publication, the UBC article notes. It is co-authored by Sarah Swan, a fellow UBC law graduate.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Harvard Law Review Vampires No Match for ‘Barackula’ “

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