The Limits of Visual Law

  • Eliza Mik Melbourne Law School


Not every legal rule can and should be visualized. The limits of visualization are set by the substance of the legal rule in question and the characteristics of the addressee, including the context in which he or she encounters the visual representation of the rule. Too complex a visualization – and the very purpose of visualization is lost as it does not present an improvement over the original, textual expression of the rule. Too simple (or simplistic?) a visualization – and the substance of the legal rule may be reduced or modified to a point that it becomes misleading and prone to misdirect action. At a basic level, the visualization of legal rules must not understate or overstate the risks of non-compliance, it must adequately inform and guide behavior. Consequently, we must not only select the best method of visualizing a given rule but also select the rules that are the best candidates for visualization.