The First Humanities Nobel for a Legal Scholar

Though not as world-famous as the Nobel Prizes, the Ludvig Holberg Prize is now in its fourth year. ((The Ludvig Holberg Memorial fund was established in 2003 by the Norwegian Parliament. The Board of the Fund annually awards the Holberg International Memorial Prize for outstanding scholarly work in the fields of the arts and humanitites, social sciences, law and theology. The prize for 2007 is NOK 4.5 million (approx. € 555,000/$750,000).)) The earliest prizes went to 2004: Julia Kristeva 2005: Jürgen Habermas and 2006: Shmuel Eisenstadt.

This year’s winner is the first legal scholar to be so honoured. No surprise that the palm goes to Ronald Myles Dworkin , of Yale, Oxford, UCL and NYU. The Holberg Presentation Speech is eloquent on his influence – he achieved the near-impossible feat of opening out the debate across the hitherto sealed border of Anglo-American, analytical, Jurisprudence and Continental legal theory.

There’s a nice review in last week’s TLS on Dworkin. And of course Slaw readers will remember Justice Bertha Wilson’s use of Dworkin’s analytical approach in Re Residential Tenancies Act, 1981 CanLII 24, R. v. Edwards Books and Art Ltd., 1986 CanLII 12 and R. v. Paré, 1987 CanLII 1

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