Erika Rackley 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 a more diverse judiciary is that the introduction of a wider variety of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences into the judiciary leads to better judgments and judging and that, once this is understood, appointment on merit – far from being in opposition to efforts to increase judicial diversity – is its strongest ally. 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.
Erika's research (with Clare McGlynn, Durham University) 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 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 2014.
Erika tweets at @erikarackley.
Selected research grants
- 2014: British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. Project title: ‘Women in Law: Beacons and Benchmarks’ (£115,500) (Jan-Dec 2015) (success rate: 15%).
- 2009: AHRC Research Leave Scheme. Project title: ‘From Difference to Diversity: An Imaginative Critique of the Judicial Appointments Process in England and Wales’ (£16,689) (Jan-March 2009) (application rated A+ and success rate in 2008: 19%).
- 2008: ESRC Grant. Project title: The Feminist Judgments Project (equal division of time with Rosemary Hunter (P-I) and Clare McGlynn (Co-I)) (£70, 202) (October 2008-January 2010) (success rate in 2007-2008: 24%; final report grade: ‘outstanding’).