Clare McGlynn co-led the ESRC funded Feminist Judgments Project (with Erika Rackley and Rosemary Hunter). This project demonstrates how feminist perspectives could result in different legal judgments in a number of significant English legal cases.
More than 60 feminist socio-legal scholars, activists and members of the legal profession worked together to produce alternative written judgments of 23 English legal cases. Although each author wrote their judgment under the same legal framework as the original case, the outcomes were often very different. Clare McGlynn and her co-editors Rosemary Hunter and Erika Rackley compiled the judgments from the project into a book, Feminist Judgments: From theory to practice, which was published in 2010. McGlynn’s own feminist judgment challenges the House of Lords decision R v A (No 2), which reduced protections for women giving evidence in rape trials. The judgment is extracted in The Guardian.
The Feminist Judgments Project has had considerable influence both within the legal profession and across wider society. Supreme Court Justice Baroness Brenda Hale cited the Project during her oral evidence to the House of Lords Consultation Committee enquiry into the Judicial Appointments Process, using it as an example of the positive role that greater diversity could have upon judicial decisions. The Feminist Judgments Project has garnered considerable media attention, including articles in the Law Society Gazette, The Lawyer and the Times Higher Education.
The Feminist Judgments Project has led to the establishment of a number of other feminist judgment projects including the Australian Feminist Judgments Project and the Northern/Irish Feminist Judgments Project (co-led by fellow Durham Law School colleague Aoife O’Donoghue).
(2) Women in the Legal Profession
Clare McGlynn’s first book The Woman Lawyer: Making the difference was published in 1998. As the first book-length study on the representation of women in the UK legal profession, it became a key reference point in debates surrounding diversity in legal contexts. In the book, Clare McGlynn chronicles women’s experiences throughout the legal profession, from law school to the judiciary. She combines her own empirical research and statistics with personal testimonies from women legal academics, lawyers and judges. These personal testimonies include contributions from Baroness Helena Kennedy, and Baroness Brenda Hale, who is currently the only woman on the Supreme Court. Clare’s overarching theme is the need for reform within the legal profession; to introduce greater diversity and to challenge a culture in which women’s abilities and achievements are marginalised.
In her role as the vice-chairwoman of the Young Women Lawyers Group in the 1990s, Clare McGlynn commented on equal opportunities for women lawyers in The Law Society Gazette, The Lawyer, and The Independent.
Women legal academics
In the late 1990s, Clare McGlynn carried out the first survey into the representation of women legal academics. Whilst it had already been established that women academics in various departments faced financial disadvantage and indirect discrimination, the representation of women academics in law schools remained unknown. The survey found that only 14% of law professors were women, and only 2 in 5 law schools had any women professors at all. In her paper about the findings, Clare discusses the impact of this under-representation of women upon the education of law students.
- McGlynn, C.M.S. (1998). The Woman Lawyer – making the difference. London: Butterworths.
- Hunter, Rosemary. McGlynn, Clare. & Rackley, Erika. (2010). Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
- McGlynn, C. (1998). Legal Feminisms: theory and practice. Ashgate.
- McGlynn, C.M.S. (2002). Strategies for Reforming the English Solicitors’ profession: An Analysis of the Business Case for Sex Equality. In Women in the World’s Legal Professions. Schultz U & Shaw G Hart.
- McGlynn, C.M.S. (2000). The Business of Equality in the Solicitors’ Profession. Modern Law Review 63: 442-456.
- McGlynn, C.M.S. (1999). Women, Representation and the Legal Academy. Legal Studies 19: 68-92.