The Feminist Judgments Project put theory into practice by engaging in a real-world exercise of writing feminist judgments for leading cases in English law. In doing so, the research demonstrated the extent to which the experiences and concerns of women from diverse backgrounds continue to be poorly reflected in law.
The Feminist Judgments Project was a highly collaborative project, involving over 50 academics, activists, and members of the legal profession. Inspired by the Women’s Court of Canada, it was led by Professor Rosemary Hunter, Professor Erika Rackley and Professor Clare McGlynn (Durham University) and involved a number of other Kent Law School academics. Feminist judgment writing has since ‘gone global’, with projects to date completed in Australia, New Zealand, Northern/Ireland, the USA and in International Law, and ongoing in India, Africa and Scotland. Kent Law School staff have also led and/or participated in the Australian, New Zealand and Northern/Irish projects.
By writing feminist judgments project members seek to highlight and challenge the often unarticulated biases of the actual judgments in the chosen cases and the values underpinning the law more generally. As such, the projects provide a novel approach to questions of the social, political and economic influences on law and contribute to thinking about the social impact of law. By imagining a feminist judge sitting on the court at the same time as the original judges, they show how cases could have been decided differently and in more socially just ways.
The research has generated wide interest among judges, legal professionals, NGOs, journalists and the wider public, both in the UK and world-wide. It has also been used in higher education to provoke students to think critically about judicial decision-making.
For further reading, the feminist judgments are published in Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice (Hart Publishing September 2010).