The Northern/Irish Feminist Judgments Project brings a new critical methodology to bear on Irish and Northern Irish legal studies. A collective of academics and practitioners has come together to write the “missing feminist judgments” in appellate cases which have shaped Irish and Northern Irish law. (Click here for details of those involved and here for details of the cases to be rewritten).

Feminist judging provides a means of re-imagining the role of the judge. It requires us to  adhere to the rules of precedent and custom which typically bind judges, while demonstrating that it is possible to decide even very difficult cases in ways which take proper account of feminist concerns. For example, a feminist judgment, in reciting the facts of the case, might provide more detail on  a woman litigant’s experience. It might take judicial notice of feminist “common knowledge”. Or it might aim to give legal meaning to feminist conceptions of equality, autonomy or selfhood.  (Click here for further discussion of the principles of feminist judging and their significance for Irish and Northern Irish legal studies.)

Our project follows the example of others in Canada, England and Australia, while modifying the methodology to take account of peculiarly Irish and Northern Irish aspirations and challenges. In particular, the Project will provide a forum for new work which considers how themes of gender and collective identity have cross-cut women’s experience before the law of both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland.

Beginning in 2014, we held a series of events, to support and publicise the work of the Project. We held four ‘Drafting Workshops’ at which our Judges presented versions of their “missing judgments” for discussion and feedback. To accompany the Workshops, we curated a series of interdisciplinary panels, which facilitated broader reflection on aspects of gender, identity and the law in Ireland and Northern Ireland.  (Click here for further details).

The Project will publish an edited collection of “missing judgments” in 2016. We expect that it will be an important resource for teachers and students of law, practitioners and activists for many years to come.

The directors of the project are:

The Project’s initial four events were held at the University of Ulster, University College Dublin and Griffith College Dublin, Queen’s University Belfast and University College Cork.

We acknowledge and appreciate the support of our friends and colleagues at:

All events in our workshop series are now over. The next events, in 2016, will be to launch the edited collection of ‘missing judgments’ produced in our workshops. Please direct any inquiries, speaker requests etc. to irishfeministjudge@gmail.com.

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The photograph is of the statue of Justice at Dublin Castle.