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Feminist Judgments in Central and Eastern Europe

Carving on the wall of The Central Criminal Court, known as the Old Bailey.

About the project 

Feminist Judgments projects creatively and critically rewrite judgments from a feminist perspective and provide a model for more gender-sensitive judging. They reveal the need to incorporate women’s experience into decision-making and the formulation of legal rules, as well as to rethink more broadly what gender justice demands. However, they have so far been limited to Western legal systems and/or to those in the common law world.

As part of a new research project coordinated by Dr Silvia Suteu (UCL Laws), we are interested in exploring the question of what feminist judging might look like beyond these contexts. Our focus is on Central and Eastern European countries and the specific challenges and opportunities for feminist judging in the region. Not only are these countries part of the civil law tradition, and thereby their courts less likely to issue the type of discursive judgments familiar to the common lawyer, but they also operate under different constraints, including a propensity for formalism inherited from the communist legal method. The role of the judge in the legal process is different, as are the traditions, legacies, and unspoken norms. Legal education and the overall legal culture in these countries will present obstacles and openings unlike those of their common law counterparts. Last but not least, there has been strong resistance to and backlash against gender equality in the region, as exemplified by judicial and legislative steps to ban so-called “gender ideology” and the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. The current climate therefore makes it that much more important to study, model, and push for feminist judging.

Project collaborators

The project benefits from the excellent research assistance of Ms Theodora Oancea, 3rd year LLB student, UCL Laws. 

Activities 

16-17 June 2022 Project Workshop, Bentham House, UCL Laws

Five people are sitting around a table and talking. One of them is taking notes.
8 people part of the Feminist Judgments in Central and Eastern Europe project are sitting around a table and smiling at the camera. There are notepads, pens and laptops on the table.

5 July 2022 “Feminist judging at a time of gender equality backlash and resistance in Central and Eastern Europe” Panel 47 at ICON-S Annual Conference, Wroclaw, Poland

13 July 2022 “Challenges of Feminist Judgments Projects in Civil Law Jurisdictions” roundtable at LSA Global Meeting, Lisbon, Portugal

External collaborations

The FJ-CEE Project is part of the Feminist Judgments Law Society Association International Research Collaborative.

Funding

The FJ-CEE Project is generously funded through the UCL Global Engagement Funds. The Funds are intended to support UCL academics in collaborating with colleagues based in other countries. The funds are led by UCL's network of Vice-Deans (International) and Regional Pro-Vice-Provosts, supported by the Global Engagement team.