Transatlantic Perspectives On Humanised Public Law Campaigns: Personalising And Depersonalising The Legislative Process

Brian Christopher Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This exploratory article uses interviews from lawmakers, government officials, bill drafters and parliamentary journalists from Westminster, the Scottish Parliament and the United States Congress to determine humanised law campaigns potential impact on the legislative process. It hypothesised that emotional law is prevented through the depersonalisation of such statutory or regulatory instruments, and that more United Kingdom and Scottish interviewees would embrace this perspective than United States interviewees. Humanised campaigns and personalised statutory law in the United States Congress appears to be on the rise. In Britain such campaigns are a rarity, yet over the past few years the Sarah's Law campaign in England and the Mark's law campaign in Scotland have each contributed to sexual offender disclosure schemes being introduced in the respective jurisdictions, the latter of which bypassed the legislature completely. When asked about such matters a clear transatlantic discrepancy appeared. American insiders on the legislative side surmised that personalising statutory law made it easier for proposals to pass through Congress and that such personalisation tactics were warranted, though there were dissenters. Westminster and Scottish interviewees focused on three main issues: protecting the law from being overly emotional; protecting general parliamentary process issues that could be influenced by humanised public bills; and not letting a sympathetic individual grace a bill's short title. Yet some Westminster interviewees believed the latter issue could eventually come to fruition in their lawmaking institution, thus threatening the previous two concerns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-76
Number of pages20
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Humanised public law campaigns
  • personalised short titles
  • Emotional law
  • Legislative processes
  • Westminster Parliament
  • Scottish Parliament
  • US Congress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science


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