• Robert Spicer

The mystery of the gavel – yours for £85

The Mystery of the Gavel

A gavel is a small wooden mallet with a matching block. It can be bought from a specialist legal accessories dealer (made from Mexican rosewood). The gavel appears as a clichéd image on many law-related websites and quasi-legal advertisements. Like the scales of justice and the wig, the gavel image achieves meaninglessness and significance at the same time. It has no meaning because gavels are not used in English courts. Its contextual irrelevance is not the point. Its imagery, like the wig and the scales of justice, is an essential part of the mystique of English law.

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