UCL Faculty of Laws


In-Person | Gender Equality Before the European Court of Human Rights

28 June 2024, 2:15 pm–4:15 pm

Lady justice bronze statuette

Gender Equality Before the European Court of Human Rights: Assessing Progress and Backlash in Conversation with Strasbourg Judges

Event Information

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UCL Laws


UCL Faculty of Laws
Bentham House
4-8 Endsleigh Gardens

Speakers: Judge Ivana Jelić and Judge Kateřina Šimáčková, European Court of Human Rights

Respondent: Dr Barbara Havelkova, Oxford University

Chair: Dr Silvia Suteu, UCL Laws

About the Talk

The European Court of Human Rights has made significant advances in its gender equality jurisprudence in recent years. In particular, it has made strides in pushing states to do more to combat violence against women, gender stereotyping, and, increasingly, intersectional discrimination. Nevertheless, gaps remain in its jurisprudence, especially as compared to other international human rights bodies. More work remains to be done to update its case law on issues such as access to abortion and assisted reproductive technologies, LGBTQI+ rights, and gender-based violence.

We will discuss these issues in conversation with two Strasbourg judges currently and recently involved in some of the most high profile gender equality judgments emerging from the Court. Judge Ivana Jelić (Montenegro) and Judge Kateřina Šimáčková (Czechia) will draw on their extensive experience in constitutional and international human rights law to discuss existing challenges and the prospect of progress in this area at a time when the Court remains embattled.

About the Speakers

Judge Ivana Jelić, LL.M, Ph.D, has served as a judge of the ECtHR since July 2018. She is elected Section President and will take up her duty as of July 2024. Prior to taking up her judicial duties in Strasbourg, she was Associate Professor of public international law and human rights law at the University of Montenegro. In addition, she previously served as a Vice Dean for international cooperation in two mandates. She was member of the Steering Committee for Human Rights of the Council of Europe – CDDH (2008-2012), member and Vice-President of Advisory Committee for the Protection of National Minorities – ACFN (2012-2016) and member and Vice President of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (2015-2018). She was visiting professor at several European universities, most recently as a Distinguished Visiting Professor and Mercator fellow at Freie Universität Berlin (Germany). She obtained her LL.M. and PhD in public international law from the School of Law, University of Belgrade. She specialised international law at the Law School of the University of Bergen (Norway), Law School of the University of California in Berkeley (US), Columbia University (US), LSE London (the UK), The Hague Academy of International Law (NL), Université Paris 2 – Assas (France), the UNOG Geneva (Switzerland). She was elected a Member of the Legal Sciences Committee, Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2015. She has written numerous publications on the European and international protection of human rights, rule of law, gender equality, and minority rights.

Judge Kateřina Šimáčková Ph.D., has been a Judge at the European Court of Human Rights since 2021. From 1988 to 1990, she worked as a lawyer at a regional hygiene station in Brno, Czech Republic, and then as a judicial law clerk to Justice JUDr. Antonín Procházka at the Constitutional Court of the Czechoslovak Federal Republic. From 1994 to 2009 she worked as a practicing lawyer, covering a number of areas; she frequently appeared as a legal representative in proceedings before the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic. In 2009, she switched from advocacy to the judiciary and was appointed a judge at the Supreme Administrative Court; in August 2013 she was appointed a Justice to the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic. Judge Šimáčková also amassed an impressive international experience, having served for four years (2009-2013) as a member of the Committee on the selection of judges of the Civil Service Tribunal (CJEU) and for more than ten years (2010 – 2021) as a substitute member of the European Commission for Democracy through Law of the Council of Europe (Venice Commission).

Judge Šimáčková's teaching and publication activity focuses primarily on the issue of fundamental rights and freedoms. She teaches courses in constitutional law, human rights and the judiciary, political science, media law and church law, and also runs a clinic in media law and medical law, a course in human rights in practice, a winter school of human rights, and a human rights moot court.

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Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash