Law Text Culture


Gary WattFollow


“Acoustic Jurisprudence” (Parker, 2015) seeks to move our appreciation of the operation of sound in law beyond the merely metaphorical use of acoustic language to the audible quality of the soundscape itself. In this paper, I seek to connect the linguistic-metaphorical to the audible-sensory in the soundscape of the United Kingdom’s legal secession from the European Union. My context is the “Brexit” dispute as it has been played out in the UK Parliament, the UK Supreme Court, and elsewhere, especially as that dispute came to a crescendo on two key occasions in the latter part of 2019. The first occasion was the Government’s attempt in September 2019 to prorogue parliament for an unusually long period, accompanied, later that month, by the UK Supreme Court’s decision to declare that attempt unlawful and therefore null and void. The second occasion was the UK General Election held on 12 December 2019, in which the Conservative Party – led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the election slogan “Get Brexit Done” – secured its largest majority in the House of Commons since 1987.