LLB Women and the Criminal Justice System

Student taking notes in a lectureModule leader: Theresa Lynch

Module description:

This module builds on some topics covered in Criminal Law but its aim is to examine criminal law in its social and cultural context, focusing specifically on its gendered context and how criminal law and the operation of the criminal justice system impacts on women. It is socio-legal in emphasis, so that we will be interested in legal details (legal facts and rules) less for their own sake than for what they tell us about the operation of criminal law. Thus, the practice and enforcement of criminal law will be given as much attention as its content. To this end we will consider matters such as how particular offences are define, prosecuted and punished and indeed why certain forms of behaviour are not criminalised. In particular, we want you to think critically about central themes which underpin the course such as harm, culpability, agency, responsibility, and violence, and to examine the issue of who gets to count as a legal subject.

Overall the course aims to offer a critique of the parameters and territory of the traditional criminal law course in examining how female and male offenders and victims are legally constructed. Subjects covered will include:

  • Female killers
  • The gendered nature of defences
  • The framing and prosecution of sexual offences
  • Policing of prostitution
  • Regulation of body modification and genital cutting
  • The punishment, sentencing and imprisonment of female offenders.