OA edition of Atkins and Hoggett Women and the Law available from IALS

Women and the Law. Susan Atkins and Brenda Hoggett

Women and the Law
Susan Atkins and Brenda Hoggett

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London is delighted to have republished Women and the Law by Susan Atkins and Brenda Hoggett (now Brenda Hale) as an open access edition from the IALS Open Book Service for Law in the School’s Humanities Digital Library.

The open access version is freely available and print on demand copies may be purchased on request https://humanities-digital-library.org/index.php/hdl/catalog/book/atkins_hoggett

Women and the Law by Susan Atkins and Brenda Hoggett was published originally in 1984. It was one of the very first modern books of its kind – providing pioneering legal scholarship on women’s treatment under law.  It is a key and influential text.

Following publication by Basil Blackwell Ltd in 1984 Women and the Law was short­listed for the Fawcett Prize. It is described by Hilaire Barnett’s ‘Sourcebook of feminist jurisprudence’ as: “One of the first legal texts on women and the law in Britain”. A quick Google search today will find it referenced by scholarly articles in every decade since publication – 1986, 1995, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013.

Reading the book now you can appreciate how inspirational it was and how relevant it still is.  It leaves the reader with a greater understanding of how the law developed and makes you think about what has happened since 1984 and the impact of initiatives from European law and social changes, such as greater recognition of sexual identities. That in turn makes you wonder where things may go next.

Dr Susan Atkins CB

Our message in 1984 was that the law was based on an experience that was usually male, although it purported to be objective and gender neutral. Looked at from the experience of women’s lives and concerns, there were huge gaps and deficiencies in the law, which Women and the Law exposed.

The open access edition provides an opportunity to place the book in context but also to sketch out how the law has developed in key areas since 1984. A new foreword seeks to examine briefly why Women and the Law was important, where progress has been made, stalled or is at risk and why, in the face of new challenges, a feminist approach is still necessary.”

Professor Rosemary Hunter (Queen Mary University of London)

Women and the Law was an influential book for me personally, and it will be great to see it back in circulation.” The “new Foreword is a tour de force.”

Professor Ambreena Manji (Professor of Land Law and Development, School of Law and Politics Cardiff University; President, African Studies Association UK)

As we begin our African Feminist Judgments project, it’s excellent for a landmark text such as this to be open access for practicing lawyers and colleagues in African law schools.”

A celebration of the republication of Women and the Law

IALS held an event with the authors to celebrate the republication of this landmark work in the Council Chamber at the IALS on Tuesday 4th December 2018.

Video recordings from the event are available at: http://ials.sas.ac.uk/digital/videos/celebration-republication-women-and-law

IALS Facebook photo album - A Celebration of the IALS republication of Women and the Law


Professor Fiona Cownie (University of Keele) hosted a conversation with the authors:

  • Dr Susan Atkins CB and
  • Brenda Hale (President of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon the Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE)

Followed by a panel discussion chaired by Professor Diamond Ashiagbor (University of Kent and IALS) with speakers discussing the lasting impact of the original work on their own thinking, careers and lives.

Speakers included: 

  • Professor Alison Diduck (University College London)
  • Professor Linda Mulcahy (London School of Economics / University of Oxford) 
  • Professor Erika Rackley (University of Kent)

The event was gratefully supported by the University of London Leading Women Campaign 2018.