UCL Faculty of Laws


Gender, Law and the State: Current Legal Issues (LAWS0055)

Feminist legal theory offers a challenge to conventional ways of understanding the form, meaning and function of law and it offers a critique of foundational assumptions about law

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This module will examine feminist legal theory both in conceptual analysis and in practical argument. We will look, for example, at law’s theoretical underpinnings and its assumptions about the nature of the state and the individual.

We will then explore various areas of public and private law and examine law’s role in challenging, creating or reproducing gender relations. Sex-specific and sex-related legislation and policy will be analysed in the light of current debates within feminist theory.

Module syllabus

This module is subject to change.

This module offers both theory and practical engagements with the law, international institutions such as the UN, and institutions of the state such as parliament, the bench, prisons and health services.

It assesses the contribution a feminist perspective can offer to understanding women’s engagement with these institutions, and with different national laws, human rights documents and international conventions. The module is taught by a number of tutors, each with specialist expertise in the subject area.

Recommended materials

There is no course text, although we will be referring to several chapters from Munro, V. (2007) Law and Politics at the Perimeter: Re-evaluating Key Debates in Feminist Theory. Oxford: Hart Publishing.

Key information

Credit value:30 credits (15 ECTS, 300 learning hours)
Convenor:Alison Diduck
Other Teachers:Changes from year to year. Lecturers have included: 
Colm O’Cinneide;
Elaine Genders;
Jonathan Montgomery;
Virginia Mantouvalou;
Jeff King
Silvia Suteu
Teaching Delivery:20 x 2-hour weekly seminars, 10 seminars per term, Term One and Two
Who may enrol:Any UCL Master’s student
Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:LLM in Law and Social Justice;
LLM in Human Rights Law;
LLM in Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
LLM in Public Law
Practice Assessment:Students may submit an answer to a past exam question to obtain feedback
Final Assessment:Exam (100%)