Professor Erika Rackley, LLB, PhD
Erika Rackley is a professor in law with particular expertise in diversity in the legal professions and judiciary and the legal regulation of extreme pornography. She is Director of Research in the Law School, having previously been Director of Undergraduate Studies. In 2007, she co-founded Gender & Law at Durham (GLAD), a research group based in the Law School, which acts as a focus for gender-related research and teaching. In 2015 she will be a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow. During this time she will be completing an oral history project examining the changing position of women in law.
Erika has written widely on judicial diversity and judging, particularly in relation to the representation of women and the importance of difference-based arguments in the context of judicial diversity, supported by awards from the AHRC, ESRC, British Council and British Academy. Her book, Women, Judging and the Judiciary: From Difference to Diversity, won the Society of Legal Scholars Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship in 2013. It argues that the key reason for judicial diversity is that the introduction of a wider variety of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences into the judiciary will inform and lead to better judgments and judging. Erika regularly comments in the media on matters relating to judicial diversity and the impact of gender on judicial decision-making, including in The Guardian, and on the BBC’s Woman's Hour and Law in Action.
In addition to her sole-authored research, Erika is also involved in a number of collaborations with other scholars through her involvement as a member of the executive committee of the Equal Justices Initiative, as co-organiser of the ground-breaking Feminist Judgments Project and, more recently, through her co-leadership of the Women’s Legal Landmarks project.
Erika's research (with Clare McGlynn) on the legal regulation of extreme pornography has helped to shape and inform public debate (see research briefing here). Their argument that criminal sanctions for the possession of extreme pornography can be justified on the basis of its cultural harm has been discussed by the Scottish Parliament, as well as in The Guardian, the New Statesman and in the 2010 Sexualisation of Young People Home Office review. During 2012-2013, they worked closely with Rape Crisis (South London) and the End Violence Against Women (EVAW) on their successful campaign to ‘ban rape porn’, which led to a commitment by the Prime Minister in July 2013 to ‘clos[e] the loophole’ in the legislation, ‘making it a criminal offence to possess internet pornography that depicts rape’. Provisions to this effect are currently before Parliament in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill.
Erika tweets at @erikarackley.
- Diversity in the legal profession and judiciary
- Feminist judgments
- Legal regulation of pornography
- Tort law
Law, Gender and Society
- 2015-2016: Women in Law: Beacons and Benchmarks (£115,000, British Academy)
- 2008-2010: Feminist Judgments Project (with Hunter and McGlynn) (£69,000, ESRC)
- 2009: From Difference to Diversity: A UK Perspective on Women, Judging and the Judiciary (£16,689, AHRC)
- 2008: Feminist Judgments - The First Steps (with Hunter and McGlynn) (Social and Legal Studies)
- 2007: International Seminar on Women in the Legal Profession (British Academy)
- 2007: Women in the Legal Professions (Society of Legal Scholars)
- 2007: Positions on the Politics of Porn (with McGlynn and Westmarland) (SLSA)
- 2007: Positions on the Politics of Porn (with McGlynn and Westmarland) (Social and Legal Studies)
- Rackley, Erika (2012). So Butler-Sloss, our women and ethnic minority lawyers aren't up to the job?. The Guardian (Thursday 31 May 2012).
- Rackley, Erika (2012). So, Lord Sumption says to be patient - we'll have a diverse bench in 2062. The Guardian (Tuesday 20 November 2012).
- Rackley, Erika. (2011). We need a more diverse supreme court. The Guardian (Tuesday 29 March 2011).
- Rackley, Erika. (2010). How feminism could improve judicial decision-making. The Guardian (Thursday 11 November 2010).
- Horsey, Kirsty & Rackley, Erika (2013). Tort Law. 3rd edn., Oxford University Press.
- Rackley, Erika. (2013). Women, Judging and the Judiciary: From Difference to Diversity. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
- Richardson, Janice & Rackley, Erika (2012). Feminist Perspectives on Tort Law. Abingdon: Routledge.
- Hunter, Rosemary. McGlynn, Clare. & Rackley, Erika. (2010). Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
- Rackley, Erika (2013). Rethinking Judicial Diversity. In Gender and Judging. Schultz, Ulrike & Shaw, Gisela Hart Publishing. 501-519.
- Richardson, Janice & Rackley, Erika (2012). Introduction. In Feminist Perspectives on Tort Law. Richardson, Janice & Rackley, Erika Abingdon: Routledge.
- Rackley, Erika (2012). What a Difference Difference Makes: Gendered Harms and Judicial Diversity. In Women in the Judiciary. Schultz, Ulrike & Shaw, Gisela. Abingdon: Routledge.
- Hunter, Rosemary., McGlynn, Clare., & Rackley, Erika. (2010). Feminist Judgments: An Introduction. In Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice. Hunter, Rosemary., McGlynn, Clare., & Rackley, Erika. Oxford: Hart Publishing. 3-29.
- Rackley, Erika. (2010). The Art and Craft of Writing Judgments: Notes on the Feminist Judgments Project. In Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice. Hunter, Rosemary. McGlynn, Clare., & Rackley, Erika. Oxford: Hart Publishing. 44-56.
- Rackley, Erika. (2009). Difference in the House of Lords. In Feminist Legal Studies. Conaghan, Joanne. London: Routledge. III: 429-453.
- Rackley, Erika. (2008). Judging Isabella: Justice, Care and Relationships in Measure for Measure. In Shakespeare and the Law. Raffield, Paul. & Watt, Gary. Oxford: Hart Publishing. 65-79.
Journal papers: academic
- Rackley, Erika & McGlynn, Clare (2013). Prosecuting the Possession of Extreme Pornography: A Misunderstood and Misused Law. Criminal Law Review (5): 400-405.
- Rackley, Erika (2012). Why Feminist Legal Scholars Should Write Judgments: Reflections on the Feminist Judgments Project in England and Wales. Canadian Journal of Women and Law 24(2): 389-413.
- Rackley, Erika (2010). In Conversation with Lord Justice Etherton: Revisiting the Case for a More Diverse Judiciary. Public Law Oct: 655-662.
- McGlynn, Clare. & Rackley, Erika. (2009). Criminalising Extreme Pornography: A Lost Opportunity. Criminal Law Review 4: 245-260.
- Rackley, Erika. (2009). Detailing Judicial Difference. Feminist Legal Studies 17(1): 11-26.
- McGlynn, Clare, Rackley, Erika & Ward, Ian. (2009). Judging Destricted. King’s Law Journal 20: 53-67.
- Rackley, Erika. (2008). What a Difference Difference Makes: Gendered Harms and Judicial Diversity. International Journal of the Legal Profession 15(1-2): 37-56.
- Rackley, Erika. (2007). From Arachne to Charlotte: An Imaginative Revisiting of Gilligan’s In a Different Voice. William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law 13(3): 751-774.
- Rackley, Erika. (2007). Judicial diversity, the woman judge and fairy tale endings. Legal Studies 27(1): 74-94.
- McGlynn, Clare. & Rackley, Erika. (2007). Striking a Balance: Arguments for the Criminal Regulation of Extreme Pornography. Criminal Law Review. 677-690.
- Rackley, Erika. (2006). 'Difference in the House of Lords'. Social & Legal Studies 15(2): 163-185.
- Rackley, Erika. (2005). When Hercules met the Happy Prince: Re-Imagining the Judge. Texas Wesleyan Law Review 12(1): 213-232.
- Rackley, Erika. (2003). Reassessing Portia: The Iconic Potential of Shakespeare's Woman Lawyer. Feminist Legal Studies 11(1): 25-44.
- Rackley, Erika. (2002). Representations of the (Woman) Judge: Hercules, the Little Mermaid, and the vain and naked Emperor. Legal Studies 22(4): 602-624.
Journal papers: professional
- Rackley, Erika (2013). The Neuberger Experiment. New Law Journal 16 August: 13-14.
- Clare McGlynn. & Erika Rackley. (2007). The Politics of Porn . New Law Journal 1142-1143.