Benjamin Bestgen: 52 attempts to make jurisprudence interesting



Benjamin Bestgen

Benjamin Bestgen, the author of the jurisprudential primer series published in Scottish Legal News and Irish Legal News, reflects on a year of his articles – from their inception in far-flung New Zealand to their conclusion in besieged Jersey.

My little jurisprudential-philosophical thought pieces started in March 2020 when I was under lockdown in Auckland, New Zealand and needed something to keep me intellectually engaged and occupy my time productively.

Scottish Legal News editor Kapil Summan and the SLN team were very open to the idea of me volunteering these primers, in the hope that they would give people something to think about besides Donald Trump’s insanity, Covid or Boris Johnson’s latest antics.

I’m obviously not John Grisham or Alexander McCall-Smith, so we initially considered that I might write 10 articles and see how we go. These grew to 20 and soon it became “as many as you have material for and want to publish”. Law and philosophy have no shortage of things to write about but all things need to end before they get stale, so I proposed I would aim for 52, one full year of attempts to make jurisprudence interesting.

Kapil proved to be a tireless and encouraging editor with a keen eye for detail and many of these articles are improved as a result of his attention. I owe him a great thanks for his many hours of work and guidance throughout the course of this series.

I also owe gratitude to you, the readers of SLN and Irish Legal News, because if these primers had not proven reasonably popular with at least a sizeable number of you, I daresay the series would not have been allowed to continue for that long. I don’t take your time or interest for granted and very much enjoyed every piece of praise, constructive criticism, general comment or sharing of my articles I received or became aware of.

Some of you have evenly kindly suggested topics for me to investigate and write about and wherever I’ve done that, I’ve asked Kapil to include a thank you note to ensure you got the credit for providing your thoughts and inspiration.

Lastly, almost every article draws heavily on the works of countless philosophers, researchers, academics, writers, artists and jurists, both dead and alive – my greatest thanks go to each and every one of them. Their achievements, arguments and research deserve full credit and any mistake or inelegant summary of their points is entirely my fault.

But it’s not time to fully call it quits on these primers, so a full and final thanks will have to wait. I’m happy to say that the articles will be revised, updated and compiled in a book, together with some bonus articles, for free download from the SLN and ILN websites in due course.

I’m very excited about this and work on this project has already started. Watch this space and, once it’s done, you are welcome to download your own copy, to read at leisure and with all articles in one place.

Until then, I recommend good thinking on the one hand and good food, humour and company on the other to keep our spirits up while we navigate the surreal times we find ourselves in.

Benjamin Bestgen is a solicitor and notary public (qualified in Scotland). He also holds a Master of Arts degree in philosophy and tutored in practical philosophy and jurisprudence at the Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main and the University of Edinburgh.



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