Professor Erika Rackley

Professor Erika Rackley

Birmingham Law School
Professor of Law

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Erika Rackley's research focuses on judicial diversity, the nature of judging, gender equality in the legal profession, and the legal regulation of pornography and image-based sexual abuse. Her scholarship has shaped and informed policy and public debate and has been discussed by the UK and Scottish governments, in The Guardian, and on BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour and Law in Action. She is author and editor of a number of books, including Women, Judging and the Judiciary: From Difference to Diversity (Routledge, 2013) and the leading tort text and case books, Tort Law and Kidner’s Casebook on Torts (Oxford University Press, 2017). In 2014, she was awarded a prestigious Phillip Leverhulme Prize for her achievements in the field of law.


  • LLB, Cardiff University
  • PhD, University of Kent


Erika Rackley joined Birmingham Law School as Professor of Law in September 2014, having previously taught at the Universities of Kent, Leicester and Durham. Her research and teaching focus principally on issues relating to gender and law. Her research has been supported by awards from the AHRC, ESRC, British Council, Philip Leverhulme Trust, Australian Research Council, Society of Legal Scholars and Socio-Legal Studies Association. In 2015, she was a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow during which time she worked on a multi-disciplinary project examining the changing position of women in law.

She has been a visiting scholar at Emory Law School (Atlanta GA), the University of British Columbia (Vancover, Canada), and Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto, Canada).


Erika Rackley's primary core undergraduate teaching interest is tort law, which she has led and taught at a number of institutions. She is co-author a leading textbook in this field for Oxford University Press (Tort Law, 5th edn, 2017) and has recently taken over co-authorship of Kidner’s Casebook on Torts (14th edn, 2017). She has also led and taught a number of law and gender modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Topics on these modules have included the legal regulation of abortion, surrogacy, lesbian motherhood, same-sex partnerships, transgender rights, feminist judgment-writing and diversity in the legal professions/judiciary.

Postgraduate supervision

Erika Rackley is happy to supervise postgraduate research students in the following areas:

  • Equality and diversity in the judiciary and legal profession.
  • Judging, reasoning and (feminist) judgment-writing.
  • Legal regulation of pornography

Potential research students are welcome to contact her by email to discuss their research proposals prior to submitting an official application.


Erika Rackley’s research focuses broadly on three key areas under the broad heading of ‘gender and law’: (1) judicial diversity, the nature of judging, gender equality in the legal profession, (2) the legal regulation of pornography and image-based sexual abuse and (3) feminist legal history. 

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. 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.  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. She is currently working on number of sole and collaborative projects in this area including an empirical project examining the changing position of women in law over the last twenty years, an edited collection (with Graham Gee) to mark the 10th anniversary of the Judicial Appointments Commission and, with Rosemary Hunter, a quantitative and qualitative project considering the jurisprudence of Lady Hale.

Erika's research (with Clare McGlynn) on the cultural harm certain forms of pornography has shaped and informed law reform in England & Wales and Scotland, specifically that relating to the criminalisation of pornographic images of rape (see research briefing here). In particular, 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 legislative changes criminalising the possession of such images in the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. The impact of Erika’s research in this field was recognised as world-leading (4*) in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (read the full case study here). 

More recently, she has been working with McGlynn on legal responses to image-based sexual abuse, that is the creation and/or distribution of private sexual images without consent, including so-called ‘revenge porn’. They argue that both the criminal and civil law should be deployed to combat this phenomenon which recognise women’s rights to privacy, dignity and sexual expression (see research briefing here). In 2017, she will begin work on an international project, funded by the Australian Research Council, on the legal implications of so-called ‘revenge pornography’ with McGlynn and colleagues from Australia and New Zealand.

Finally, Erika is leading, with Rosemary Auchmuty, the ‘Women’s Legal Landmarks Project’. This brings together over 100 feminist lawyers, historians, activists and legal practitioners to write about the key legal events in the UK and Ireland in women’s fight for justice and equality. An edited collection of the landmarks will be published by Hart Publishing in 2018.  You can listen to a podcast about the Project here.

 Selected research grants/prizes

  • 2016: Australian Research Council: The legal implications of 'revenge pornography' (Co-I)
  • 2014: Philip Leverhulme Trust: Philip Leverhulme Prize (£100,000) (PI).
  • 2014: British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. Project title: ‘Women in Law: Beacons and Benchmarks’ (£115,500) (PI).
  • 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) (PI).
  • 2008: ESRC Grant. Project title: The Feminist Judgments Project (£70, 202) (Co-I)

Other activities

  • First 100 years Champion
  • Judicial Diversity Initiative Executive Committee



  • Women, Judging and Judiciary: From Difference to Diversity (Routledge, 2013; pb 2014).
  • Tort Law (Oxford University Press, 5th edn 2017) (with Kirsty Horsey).
  • Kidner’s Casebook on Torts (Oxford University Press, 14th edn 2017) (with Kirsty Horsey).

Edited Collections

  • Women’s Legal Landmarks (Hart Publishing, 2018 forthcoming) (with Rosemary Auchmuty).
  • Debating Judicial Appointments in an Age of Diversity (Routledge, 2017 forthcoming) (with Graham Gee).
  • Feminist Perspectives on Tort Law (Routledge, 2012; pb 2014) (with Janice Richardson).
  • Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice (Hart Publishing, 2010) (with Rosemary Hunter and Clare McGlynn).


  • ‘Image-Based Sexual Abuse’ Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (2017, forthcoming) (with Clare McGlynn).
  • ‘“Beyond 'Revenge Porn”: The Continuum of Image-Based Sexual Abuse’ Feminist Legal Studies (2017, forthcoming) (with Clare McGlynn and Ruth Houghton)
  • ‘The Women's Legal Landmarks Project: Celebrating 100 Years of Women in the Law in the UK and Ireland’ (2016) 16(1) Legal Information Management 30-34 (with Rosemary Auchmuty).
  • ‘Prosecuting the Possession of Extreme Pornography: A Misunderstood and Misused Law’ (2013) 5 Criminal Law Review 400-405 (with Clare McGlynn).
  • ‘Why Feminist Legal Scholars Should Write Judgments: Reflections on the Feminist Judgments Project in England and Wales’, (2012) 24(2) Canadian Journal of Women and Law 389-413.
  • ‘In conversation with Lord Justice Etherton: revisiting the case for judicial diversity’ (2010) Public Law, Oct, 14-21.
  • ‘Criminalising Extreme Pornography: A Lost Opportunity’ (2009) Criminal Law Review 245-260 (with Clare McGlynn).
  • ‘Detailing Judicial Difference’ (2009) 17(1) Feminist Legal Studies 11-26.
  • ‘Judging Destricted : art, porn and the responsibility of judgment’ (2009) 20 Kings Law Journal 53-67(with Clare McGlynn & Ian Ward).
  • ‘What a Difference Difference Makes: Gendered Harms and Judicial Diversity’ (2008) 15 International Journal of the Legal Profession 31-50.
  • ‘Judicial Diversity, the Woman Judge and Fairy Tale Endings’ (2007) 27(1) Legal Studies 74-94.
  • ‘Striking a Balance: Arguments for the Criminal Regulation of Extreme Pornography’ (2007) Criminal Law Review 677-690 (with Clare McGlynn).
  • ‘From Arachne to Charlotte: An Imaginative Revisiting of Gilligan’s In a Different Voice ’(2007) 13(3) William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law 751-774.
  • ‘Difference in the House of Lords’ (2006) 15(2) Social and Legal Studies 163-185.
  •  ‘When Hercules met the Happy Prince: Re-Imagining the Judge’ (2005) 12 Texas Wesleyan Law Review 213-232.
  • ‘Reassessing Portia: The Iconic Potential of Shakespeare’s Woman Lawyer’ (2003) 11(1) Feminist Legal Studies 25-44.
  • ‘Representations of the (Woman) Judge: Hercules, the Little Mermaid and the vain and naked Emperor’ (2002) 22(4) Legal Studies 602-624.

Book chapters

  • ‘Three Models of Judicial Diversity’ (with Charlie Webb) in Appointing Judges in an Age of Diversity, Graham Gee & Erika Rackley (eds) (Routledge, 2017) (forthcoming).
  • ‘Introduction: Diversity and the JAC’s First Ten Years’ (with Graham Gee) in Appointing Judges in an Age of Diversity, Graham Gee & Erika Rackley (eds) (Routledge, 2017) (forthcoming).
  • ‘Tort Law’ in Great Debates on Law and Gender, Rosemary Auchmuty (ed) (Palgrave, 2017) (forthcoming).
  • ‘Rethinking Judicial Diversity’ in Gender and Judging , Ulrike Schultz & Gisela Shaw (eds) (Hart Publishing, 2013) pp 501-519.
  •  ‘Introduction’ (with Janice Richardson) in Feminist Perspectives on Tort Law , Janice Richardson & Erika Rackley (ed) (Routledge, 2012) pp 1-13.
  • ‘The Art and Craft of Judgment Writing: Notes on the Feminist Judgments Project’ in Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice, Rosemary Hunter, Clare McGlynn and Erika Rackley (ed) (Hart Publishing, 2010) pp. 44-56.
  • ‘Feminist Judgments: An Introduction’ (co-authored with Rosemary Hunter and Clare McGlynn) in Rosemary Hunter, Clare McGlynn & Erika Rackley Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice (Hart Publishing, 2010) pp. 3-29.
  • ‘Judging Isabella: Justice, Care and Relationships in Measure for Measure ’ In Shakespeare and Law , Paul Raffield and Gary Watt (eds) (Hart Publishing, 2008) pp. 65-79.

Selected public policy reports and evidence

  • Written evidence to Joint Committee on Human Rights on Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2014 (March 2014) (with Clare McGlynn).
  • Written evidence to House of Commons Public Bill Committee on Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2014 (March 2014) (with Clare McGlynn).
  • Written evidence to Irish Government’s Consultation on ‘A Review of Procedures for Appointment as a Judge’ (Jan 2014).
  • Written evidence to Ministry of Justice ‘Appointments and Diversity: ‘A Judiciary for the 21st Century’ consultation (Feb 2013) (joint submission with members of the Equal Justices Initiative).
  • Oral and written evidence to House of Lords Committee on the Constitution, Inquiry into the Judicial Appointment Process (July 2011), pp165-185; 514-519; 186-195.
  • Written evidence to Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Diversity (Sept 2009).
  • Written evidence to Scottish Parliament, Justice Committee, Criminal Justice and Licensing (2009) (with Clare McGlynn).


Diversity, esp in legal profession and judiciary; UK Supreme Court; Image-based sexual abuse including 'revenge porn'; Legal regulation of pornography

Media experience

Regular commentator in local and national print media (e.g. Guardian, New Statesman) and radio (incl Woman's Hour, Law in Action)


Image-Based Sexual Abuse, including revenge porn

Diversity in the judiciary and legal profession

Legal regulation of extreme pornography 

The judiciary and the nature of judging, including feminist judging