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Judicial decision making
Judicial decision making

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5.2 Feminist Legal Judgments Project

In England and Wales, in common with most other jurisdictions, the overwhelming majority of judges have historically been, and continue to be male (Ministry of Justice, 2020). To highlight the effect this has had on the law, scholars have rewritten many key common law judgments from a feminist perspective (e.g. Hunter, McGlynn and Rackley (2010)). These scholars seek to demonstrate that judges that believe in equality between women and men would have decided the cases differently, and would have given different reasons for their decisions.

In the following activity, you will have an opportunity to reflect on what you think about these issues.

Activity 4 Judicial bias

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

1. Watch the following video of an interview with Professor Rosemary Hunter.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 4 Interview with Professor Rosemary Hunter of the Feminist Legal Judgments Project
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Video 4 Interview with Professor Rosemary Hunter of the Feminist Legal Judgments Project
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2. Read the following questions and summarise your response in the text box below. Explain your thinking as clearly as you can, and, if possible, draw on examples and experiences from your own knowledge.

  • To what extent do you think bias is a problem in legal reasoning?
  • What, if anything, do you think could be done about it?
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