This illuminating Research Handbook analyses the role that emotions play and ought to play in legal reasoning and practice, rejecting the simplistic distinction between reason and emotion.

‘It’s high time that we appreciate the importance for law of emotions, like anger, disgust or empathy. Should law embrace emotion as inevitable, or discourage it for warping judgments and hampering fairness? The editors have gathered an impressive interdisciplinary range of perspectives on this flourishing field. Their superb collection of contributors reveal the importance of emotion not only in criminal law, but in bankruptcy, evidence, international law and other arenas. The power of emotion matters not only for juries, but for judges, legal educators and legislators. The Research Handbook of Law and Emotion is an innovative and thoughtful contribution that brings order to a complex unruly field.’
– Elizabeth F. Loftus, University of California, Irvine, US

‘Emotion matters to law in so many ways: it is vital to recognizing the harm and suffering that law attempts to remedy; to identifying and balancing the values, vulnerabilities, and interests involved in justifying those remedies; and to learning the art and craft of legal reasoning. Understanding these issues requires drawing on many disciplines: psychology, philosophy, pedagogy, history, and the arts. This wonderful new collection does all this and more. It is essential reading for any legal scholar.’
– Maksymilian Del Mar, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Research Handbook of Law and Emotion
(Susan A. Bandes et al eds., Edward Elgar Press, 2021)

Susan Bandes - The Passion of Law

The Passions of Law
(Susan A. Bandes ed., NYU Press, 2000)


The Passions of Law is the first anthology to treat the role that emotions play, don’ t play, and ought to play in the practice and conception of law and justice.

The book was hailed as a “landmark collection” with an “impressive variety of topics and approaches” that takes “the conversation about emotion in law far beyond easy platitudes about the desirability of compassion, mercy, and love, or the dangers of vengeance and resentment.”

In the words of one reviewer, “the high points in the analysis are so elegant and incisive as to make one experience passion about law and legal scholarship.” The book is regarded as one of the founding texts of the emerging field of Law and Emotion.


When Emotion Worms Its Way Into Law

By Sarah Boxer, New York Times

“Another Thing Needful”: Exploring Emotions In The Law

By Neal Feigenson, Quinnipiac

“In its impressive variety of topics and approaches, The Passions of Law takes the conversation about emotion [in law] far beyond easy platitudes about the desirability of compassion, mercy, and love or the dangers of vengeance and resentment. The authors’ insightful and intellectually rigorous normative analyses should persuade even casual readers that the place of emotion in law deserves much closer study.”

Negotiating the Tangle of Law and Emotion

By Laura Little, Temple University Beasley School of Law

“the high points in the analysis are so elegant and incisive as to make one experience passion about law and legal scholarship.”

Who’s Afraid of Law and the Emotions?

By Kathryn Abrams and Hila Keren

calls it a “landmark collection” that highlighted and consolidated the field of law and emotion.

The Progress of Passion

By Kathryn Abrams, UC Berkeley School of Law

“Susan Bandes’s collection, The Passions of Law, is a triumphant example of this new genre of critique.”

Law and Emotion Scholarship: A Snapshot

By Emma Jones, of the Socio-Legal Studies Association

As co-convenor of the new law and emotion stream about to be launched at the SLSA’s 2017 conference, this seems an apt moment for me to pause and reflect on where law and emotion scholarship stands today. Its origins as a field of scholarship can be traced to a conference at the University of Chicago, following which, in 1999, came the ground-breaking anthology The Passions of Law, edited by Susan Bandes. This was one of the first books to explore the relationship between law and emotion, and its opening sentence reads “Emotion pervades the law”. This seemingly simple statement not only forms the basis of research in this area but, in doing so, also offers a significant challenge to more traditional legal scholarship. By siting emotion as intertwined with, interacting with and even part of the law, it dismisses the conventional dichotomy that views emotion as a series of irrational impulses which must be suppressed and disregarded by the rationality of law. Instead, it requires emotion to be acknowledged and explored as an inescapable and valuable part of every facet of legal life, law and justice.