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Durham University

Gender and Law at Durham

Irish FJP

Northern/Irish Feminist Judgments Project: Judges’ Troubles: Northern/Irish Courts and the Gendered Politics of Identity


The Irish Feminist Judgments project is led by Aoife O'Donoghue (Durham Law School) Máiréad Enright (Kent Law School) and Julie McCandless (London School of Economics). The Irish project will build upon the work of the feminist judgment project already completed by Durham and Kent which worked to integrate feminist theory and judicial method, re-writing influential judgments from feminist perspectives.

The Irish project is entitled ‘Judges’ Troubles: Northern/Irish Courts and the Gendered Politics of Identity’ and inaugurates a fresh dialogue on gender, judicial power, and national identity within Ireland. In September 2012, supported by both GLAD and Durham’s University Seedcorn Fund, the first workshop of the Irish project was held here in Durham. This first workshop was well attended by academics from across the UK and Ireland; it exposed some of the questions arising out of judging in Ireland, and further supported the view of the organisers that the project is innovative, necessary and significant.

The project has three key research questions; first, whether feminist theory illuminates relationships between judging, national identities, and the (political) lives of Northern/Irish women. Second, to what extent do Northern/Irish experiences resonate with those in jurisdictions which have also inherited an English legal tradition? Finally, what methodological resources can feminist legal theory provide for critically re-imagining the judicial role in contexts of transition from conflict, colonialism and religious patriarchy? The project will produce a new anthology of judgments as well as an innovative web resource containing materials of use to both academics and civil society.

Workshops, considering each of the cases alongside panels tackling the broader questions involved in the project, are scheduled for 2014/2015:

The Foreign Subject (University of Ulster, Oct 2014) The Choosing Subject (Queen’s University Belfast, Dec 2014) The Mothering Subject (University College Cork, Feb 2015) The Embodied Subject (University College Dublin, April 2015)

The project is being conducted in collaboration with academic partners at institutions across the UK and Ireland, including Siobhán Mullaly at University College Cork, Sally Wheeler at Queens, Belfast, Catherine
 at the Transitional Justice Institute at the University of Ulster and Judy Walsh at the University College Dublin.

Full details of the project are available from its website here ( and you can follow the project on Twitter here (@irishfjp).