How feminism could improve judicial decision-making

Via The Guardian, How feminism could improve judicial decision-making

The Feminist Judgments Project offers a vision as to what the law might look like if there were (more) feminist judges, and in doing so, challenges our thinking about law and judging. More than 50 academics, practitioners and activists have come together to produce 23 alternative feminist judgments in a series of key cases in English law.

In R v A (No 2), for example, instead of rules restricting the use of sexual history evidence in rape trials being overturned by an all-male House of Lords (itself the subject of a legal challenge by the Fawcett Society), the feminist judgment by Clare McGlynn upholds the restrictions, challenging the assumption at the heart of the case: that a woman who has agreed to have sex with a particular man is – simply by virtue of that fact – more likely to do so again at another time.

Other cases include attorney-general for Jersey v Holley, in which Susan Edwards dissents from the majority of the Privy Council. She argues that the defence of provocation should be sensitive to the specific circumstances and capacities of the defendant, which would go some way to redressing the law’s inadequate treatment of women who kill their abusive partners. In Evans v Amicus Healthcare Ltd, Sonia Harris-Short holds that, contrary to the court of appeal judgment, Natalie Evans should have been allowed to use frozen embryos stored prior to her treatment for ovarian cancer – her only chance to have a genetically related child – despite her former partner’s objections.

More info and cases at the Feminist Judgments Project.

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