Birmingham Law Professor wins Phillip Leverhulme Prize

Professor Erika Rackley

Professor Erika Rackley has been awarded a Phillip Leverhulme Prize for her achievements in the field of law. Around 30 prizes are awarded annually in recognition of the achievements of ‘early career researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising’.

Erika Rackley is a Professor in Birmingham Law School. Her research interests fall within the broad field of gender and law, with a particular emphasis on gender diversity and equality in the legal profession and judiciary. She will use her prize to support and advance a number of individual and collaborative research projects, including a qualitative and oral history project on the progress and prospects of women in law and, with Rosemary Hunter at Queen Mary, University of London, the first systematic analysis of Lady Hale’s judgments on the UK Supreme Court.

Professor Rackley’s scholarship on judicial diversity has helped to shape and inform public and policy debate. In 2013, she won the Society of Legal Scholars’ Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship for her monograph, Women, Judging and the Judiciary: From Difference to Diversity (Routledge 2013). This argues that the key reason for judicial diversity is that the introduction of a wider variety of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences into the judiciary will inform and lead to better judgments and judging. Professor Rackley was one of the organisers of the UK Feminist Judgments Project and is currently co-leading, with Rosemary Auchmuty (University of Reading), the Women’s Legal Landmarks Project, a cross-disciplinary collaboration involving over 80 feminist legal and history scholars from across the UK and Ireland. Professor Rackley will be a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow in 2015.

The Leverhulme Trust  was established in 1925 under the will of the William Hesketh Lever, founder of Lever Brothers. It is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing over £60 million every year. A full list of 2015 Prize winners is available on The Leverhulme Trust’s website.