Professor Máiréad Enright

Professor Máiréad Enright

Birmingham Law School
Professor of Feminist Legal Studies
Head of Research Impact

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Máiréad Enright’s research is in feminist legal studies and critical legal theory, with a particular focus on law and religion. She has written on issues including reproductive justice, law reform and grassroots organising, illegality in social movements, responses to historical injustice and obstetric violence.  She often works with and advises groups campaigning around reproductive rights and historical gender-based violence, especially in Ireland and Northern Ireland. She is also interested in collaborations between artists and legal scholars. From 2020-2021, she was a Leverhulme Research Fellow. Her project, ‘Laws’ Inheritances’ examined how recent state efforts to redress institutional abuse in Ireland repeat or repurpose the legal structures that enabled the original abuse, and considers how that legal history could be inherited otherwise.

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 previously lectured at Kent Law School. In 2020-2022, I held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship. I tweet at @maireadenright.



  • Contract Law.
  • Family Law.

Postgraduate supervision

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

Gender, law and Religion, particularly from feminist or critical legal perspectives.
Politics of reproductive justice.
'Historical' institutional abuse.
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 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. 


Recent publications


Enright, M 2024, 'Abortion and Constitutional Rights Since 2018: Assessing the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act', Dublin University Law Journal, vol. 43, no. 2. <>

Enright, M 2023, 'Abortion in Ireland: Prospects for Rights-Centred Law Reform?', European Human Rights Law Review, vol. 2023, no. 4, pp. 323-332.

Enright, M & Duffy, D 2022, 'Law and childbirth in Ireland after the 8 th Amendment: notes on women's legal consciousness: notes on women’s legal consciousness', Journal of Law and Society, vol. 49, no. 4, pp. 753-777.

Enright, M & Kinsella, T 2021, 'Legal Aesthetics in The Touching Contract: Memory, Exposure and Transformation', Law Culture and the Humanities, pp. 1-23.

Enright, M 2021, 'The touching contract', Paper Visual Art, vol. 12.

Enright, M, McNeily, K & De Londras, F 2020, 'Abortion activism, legal change, and taking feminist law work seriously', The Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, vol. 71, no. 3, pp. 359. <>

Enright, M 2020, 'Four pieces on repeal: notes on art aesthetics and the struggle against Ireland’s abortion law', Feminist Review, vol. 124, no. 1, pp. 104-123.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Enright, M 2023, ‘Benefactors and Friends’: Charitable Bequests, Reparation and the Donnybrook Laundry. in M Coen, K O'Donnell & M O'Rourke (eds), A Dublin Magdalene Laundry : Donnybrook and Church-State Power in Ireland. Bloomsbury, pp. 151-169. <>

Enright, M 2023, ‘Charitable Inclinations’: Women’s Bequests to Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries. in S Lenon & D Monk (eds), Inheritance Matters: Kinship, Property, Law. 1 edn, Bloomsbury Publishing. <>

Enright, M, Bloomer, F (ed.) & Campbell, E (ed.) 2022, Alliance for choice as agents of legal change. in F Bloomer & E Campbell (eds), Decriminalizing Abortion in Northern Ireland: Legislation and Protest. Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 101-115. <>

Enright, M 2021, Contract, the state, and the Magdalene Laundries. in M Haughton, M McAuliffe & E Pine (eds), Legacies of the Magdalen Laundries: Commemoration, gender, and the postcolonial carceral state. Manchester University Press, pp. 193-216. <>


Enright, M 2021, Contract Law and Empire. in IR Wall, F Middleton, S Shah & CLAW (eds), The Critical Legal Pocketbook. Counterpress. <>

Enright, M 2020, "Like a Dog": Remaking the Irish Law of Institutional Abuse. in S Browne (ed.), The Law is a White Dog: TULCA Festival of Visual Arts. TULCA Publishing, Galway, Ireland, pp. 111 - 135.

Book/Film/Article review

Enright, M 2021, 'Book Review: Scottish Feminist Judgments: (Re)Creating Law From the Outside In', Social and Legal Studies.

Working paper

Enright, M 2023 'Constitutional Analysis of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018: Identifying Rights Violations and Suggesting Possible Legislative Reforms'.

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