SFJP at RebLaw 2019

On Saturday February 9 2019, two of our project co-ordinators, Chloë Kennedy and Sharon Cowan, presented at the second Scottish RebLaw conference at the University of Glasgow. Reblaw is a conference about rebellious lawyering, designed to think about how law can be used as a tool for social justice. The programme touched on many pressing topics, including (amongst others) workers’ rights in the gig economy, migration rights and the right to quality housing.


Sharon and Chloë were part of a panel on ‘innovative approaches to obtaining justice for victims of sexual crimes’ with Sandy Brindley (Chief Executive of Rape Crisis Scotland) and Sarah Crawford (Senior Associate at JustRight Scotland and head of its Scottish Women’s Rights Centre). Sandy outlined various suggestions for legal reform, including abolition of the requirement for corroboration and the ‘not proven’ verdict. Sarah discussed the recent civil case (which the Women’s Rights Centre helped bring) in which ‘Miss M’ obtained damages for rape.


The presentation given by Chloë and Sharon focused on the potential for art to give voice to victims of sexual violence and the importance of our listening to these voices. Focussing on one example from the Scottish Feminist Judgments Project – poetry by Jay Whittaker – and the award-winning play ‘It’s True, It’s True, It’s True’, Sharon and Chloë suggested that art can help make individual stories more visible, generate empathy, and offer public recognition of victims’ harm(s). They added that this, in turn, might generate legal benefits, such as increased rates of conviction for sex offences, but highlighted that these side-effects are not the main goal of engaging art in the process of legal critique.


Chloë and Sharon will discuss these ideas further as part of a roundtable on art, law and justice at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities in Ottawa http://lawculturehumanities.com/overview/


L to R: Sarah Crawford, Sandy Brindley (and daughter), Sharon, Chloë