Putting images or information graphics into law books

Why don’t law books around the world, have images or information graphics in them?

Possible reasons why law books don’t have images (as per common perceptions):

  • Interpretation of the law may vary.
  • Readers may restrict their interpretation of the law to the image.
  • The books may lose their solemn and formal feeling.
  • Law books are meant only for highly literate people who have a longer attention span for reading.
  • We don’t need pictures in law books, since we understand text quite properly.
  • It has been going on for generations and no one has questioned it.
  • The law is not meant to be understood by the layman (although he is subject to it).

What are the benefits of having images or info graphics in law books?

It is often said that “a picture speaks a thousand words”, hence a picture can allow a reader to absorb larger amounts of information faster by conveying a complex statement into a simple image.

As the famous latin maxim goes – “Ignorantia juris non excusat” – ignorance of the law is not excused by the judiciary.  The common man is always dependent on more educated people to know and understand the law.

In a country like India with over 1,221 laws (as of May 2010), it is almost impossible for a lawyer or judge to know even a gist of every law, so the layman who has had no legal education, is in a totally helpless state.

Images help the layman also understand law, making it widely known and help in implementation of the law.

Commonly known benefits of images in a law book:

  • Makes the book more interesting to read.
  • Does not need the reader to have a very long attention span or to be highly educated.
  • Helps students memorize important points and highlights of the law.
  • Allows a hierarchy or complex structure, to be easily explained.
  • Makes a greater persuasive impact to aid in memorising or recalling the point.

Watch this space for an example of putting images into law books.

The author invites comments and suggestions on info @ lawgic.info

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