Open Access edition of Women and the Law just published

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 be republishing 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

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.

What has the law done for women? ‘Women and the Law’ updates the answers. Press release - 27 September 2018

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

We are holding 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 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm – followed by a wine reception.

Professor Fiona Cownie (University of Keele) will host 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 will include: 

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

This event is free but advance booking is required.  All welcome

This event is gratefully supported by the University of London Leading Women Campaign 2018.