Mairead Enright

Mairead Enright

Birmingham Law School
Reader in Feminist Legal Studies

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Máiréad Enright joined Birmingham Law School in 2016. Her research is in feminist legal studies and law and religion. She is especially interested in how patriarchal legal and religious structures can be resisted and changed. Her research in this respect looks beyond traditional methods of law reform to consider illegality, protest, private litigation, and experimental legal drafting. She is Co-Director of the Northern/Irish Feminist Judgments Project (, and often consults with and advises groups campaigning around reproductive rights and historical gender-based violence in Ireland. 

ORCID: 0000-0003-0627-9682


  • BCL (NUI)
  • MA (King’s College London)
  • Barrister-at-Law (King’s Inns)


I joined Birmingham Law School as a Senior Lecturer in September 2016, having lectured at Kent Law School and Manchester Metropolitan University. I have also been the EJ Phelan Fellow in International Law and a doctoral student at University College Cork. I tweet at @maireadenright. I have held a variety of visitorships including at Osgoode Hall Law School (York University) and the Beatrice Bain Reading Group at UC Berkeley.


  • Contract Law.
  • Family Law.

Postgraduate supervision

I am willing to supervise research students in the following areas:

  • Law and Religion, particularly from feminist or critical legal perspectives.
  • Politics of reproductive justice.
  • Law, activism and social movements.

I am happy to answer email queries from prospective students before submission of an official proposal.

Find out more - our PhD Law  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


I have a range of research interests, grounded in feminist legal theory, and critical theoretical approaches to legal agency, legal pluralism, law-breaking, resistance and disobedience. My research to date has focused, in particular, on how women may strategically manipulate legal processes (contract formation, private law litigation, vernacular dissident legal interpretation and the feminist drafting of legal texts) to resist religious or cultural dispossession. A related strand of my research concerns states’ use of legal discourse to construct and maintain exclusionary politics of national identity, whether with or against religion. My research in this respect has involved close examination of the intersections of law, religious power and gendered national identity projects, Islamic family law and the politics of reproductive justice in Ireland (particularly the early family planning movement, abortion rights and reparations for historical obstetric violence). 

Other activities

Legal consultant for artwork for The Touching Contract (Dublin, 2016)

Mairead is a founding member of Lawyers for Choice, a public legal education group that aims to enhance understanding of abortion regulation in Ireland. 



  • De Londras, Fiona and Enright, Mairead, (2018) Repealing the 8th - Reforming Irish Abortion Law  Policy Press, Bristol. ISBN 978-1447347514
  • Enright, Máiréad (2007) Principles of Irish Contract Law. Clarus, Dublin, 465 pp. ISBN 978-1-905536-10-8.

Edited books

  • Enright, Máiréad and McCandless, Julie and O'Donoghue, Aoife, eds. (2017) Northern / Irish Feminist Judgments: Judges' Troubles and the Gendered Politics of Identity. Hart Publishing, Oxford. ISBN 9781849465748. 

Peer reviewed articles

  • Enright, Mairead and Cloatre, Emilie, "Transformative Illegality: How Condoms Became Legal in Ireland, 1991-1993" (2018) Feminist Legal Studies 
  • Enright, Máiréad and Emilie Cloatre (2017) On the Perimeter of the Lawful': Enduring Illegality in the Irish Family Planning Movement, 1972-1985.  Journal of Law and Society 44(4). pp. 471-500.
  • Enright, Máiréad and De Londras, Fiona and Conway, Vicky and Donnelly, Mary and Fletcher, Ruth and Murray, Claire and McGuinness, Sheelagh and Ring, Sinead and Ui Chonnachtaigh, Sorcha (2015) Abortion Law Reform in Ireland: A Model for Change. feminists@law . pp. 1-17.
  • Enright, Máiréad and Conway, Vicky and De Londras, Fiona and Fletcher, Ruth and McGuinness, Sheelagh and Ui Chonnachtaigh, Sorcha and McDonnell, Natalie and Murray, Claire and Ring, Sinéad and Donnelly, Mary (2015) General Scheme of Access to Abortion Bill 2015. feminists@law, 5 (1). pp. 1-32.
  • Enright, Máiréad and de Londras, Fiona (2014) 'Empty Without and Empty Within': The Unworkability of the Eighth Amendment after Savita Halappanavar and Miss Y. Medico-Legal Journal of Ireland, pp. 85-93.
  • Enright, Máiréad (2013) The Beginning of the Sharpness: Loyalty, Citizenship and Muslim Divorce Practice. International Journal of Law in Context, 9 (3). pp. 295-317. ISSN 1744-5523. 
  • Enright, Mairead and Mullally, Siobhan (2013) Introduction: complex transformations--gender, religious subjectivities and the new politics of belongingInternational Journal of Law in Context, 9 (03). pp. 291-294.
  • Enright, Máiréad (2013) Preferring the Stranger: Towards An Irish Approach to Muslim Divorce Practice. Irish Jurist, 1 . pp. 65-97.
  • Enright, Máiréad (2011) Girl, Interrupted: Citizenship and the Irish Hijab Debate. Social and Legal Studies, 20 (4). pp. 463-480.
  • Enright, Máiréad (2010) The Limits of Legal Citizenship: Reading Aleem v. Aleem. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting (American Society of International Law), 104 . pp. 52-55.
  • Enright, Máiréad (2009) Choice, Culture and the Politics of Belonging: The Emerging Law of Forced and Arranged Marriage. Modern Law Review, 72 (3). pp. 331-359. ISSN 0026-7961. 
  • Enright, Máiréad (2007) Whither White Western Values?: Medical Treatment for Children and the Cultural Defence in Irish Law. Hibernian Law Journal, 7 . pp. 1-17. ISSN 1393-8940.
  • Enright, Máiréad (2006) Dispositional Contracts and Frozen Pre-Embryos: Right for Women? Medico-Legal Journal of Ireland, 12 (1). pp. 31-56. ISSN 1393-1792.
  • Enright, Máiréad (2006) Justice, Convention and Anecdote: Evans and the Right to Become a MotherIrish Journal of Family Law, 9 (4). pp. 11-21. ISSN 1393-7073. 
  • Enright, Máiréad (2004) Abraham, Isaac and the North-Western Health Board: Parents, Religion and Medical Treatment for the Child. Hibernian Law Journal, pp. 25-53. ISSN 1393-8940. 

Chapters in books

  • Enright, Mairead "The Health (Family Planning) Act 1979" in Rackley and Auchmuty (eds) Women's Legal Landmarks (Hart, 2018)
  • Enright, Mairead, "Abortion" in Dunne and Black (eds) Gender and Law in Modern Ireland (Hart, 2019) 55-73
  • Enright, Mairead (2018) "No, I won’t go back. Homogenous National Time and Symphysiotomy" in Benyon-Jones S and Grabham E (eds) Law and Time Routledge, London ISBN 780415792219 
  • Enright, Mairead (2018) "Contract Law" in Auchmuty (ed) Great Debates in Gender and Law Palgrave, London ISBN 9781137610997
  • Cloatre, Emilie and Enright, Máiréad (2017) Commentary on McGee v. AG. In: O’Donoghue, A and Enright, M and McCandless, J, eds. Irish Feminist Judgments: Judges Troubles and the Gendered Politics of Identity. Hart Publishing, Oxford. ISBN 9781849465748. 
  • Enright, Máiréad  (2017) 'McGee v. AG’ In: O’Donoghue, A and Enright, M and McCandless, J, eds. Irish Feminist Judgments: Judges Troubles and the Gendered Politics of Identity. Hart Publishing, Oxford. ISBN 9781849465748. 
  • Enright, Máiréad  (2017) 'Involuntary Patriotism': Judging, Women and National Identity on the Island of Ireland’ In: O’Donoghue, A and Enright, M and McCandless, J, eds. Irish Feminist Judgments: Judges Troubles and the Gendered Politics of Identity. Hart Publishing, Oxford. ISBN 9781849465748. 

Edited journals

  • Enright, Mairead and Mullally, Siobhan, eds. (2013) Complex Transformations – Gender, Religious Subjectivities and the New Politics of Belonging (Special Issue, International Journal of Law in Context).  


I have published op-eds in the Irish Times, the Irish Independent and the Sunday Business Post and have been interviewed on abortion law in Ireland, forced marriage, symphysiotomy, gendered abuses within the Catholic Church, and gender equality on Al Jazeera, the BBC World Service, RTE Radio 1 (the Irish national broadcaster), Newstalk, and TV3.  I have also contributed to discussion on Irish abortion law on Pacifica Radio (New York) the Guardian, the Sunday Times (Ireland) and the Irish Examiner. I blog regularly at, and and have contributed to the Oxford Human Rights Hub. 

View all publications in research portal


Mairead has expertise in abortion law, feminism in Ireland, historical injustice and reproductive justice.


  • Feminist legal studies 
  • Law and religion
  • Reproductive rights
  • Irish Studies