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Durham Law School


Professor Erika Rackley, LLB, PhD

Professor in Durham Law School
Director of Research, Durham Law School
Chair of Research Committee, Durham Law School
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42835
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 42801
Room number: PCL123

Contact Professor Erika Rackley (email at


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.

Research Interests

  • Diversity in the legal profession and judiciary
  • Feminist judgments
  • Legal regulation of pornography
  • Tort law

Teaching Areas

Law, Gender and Society

Grants Awarded

  • 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)


Articles: newspaper

Books: authored

Books: edited

Books: sections

Journal papers: academic

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.