The Scottish Feminist Judgments Podcast
Is the law neutral, and does it serve us all equally? The Scottish Feminist Judgements Project attempts to answer these questions. Legal academics and practitioners got together to re-write historical cases through a gendered lens. In their re-writing, the feminist judges could only use tools – laws, evidence, and social understanding of the world – that could have been accessed by the original judge and jury at the time of the original judgement.
Episode 1: Drury – history and cultural legacies
In 1998, Marylin McKenna was murdered by Stuart Drury. Drury was tried for her murder and was found guilty, but he appealed the decision claiming he had been provoked into killing Marylin because she had been unfaithful to him. This appeal has had a profound impact on our law around provocation through sexual infidelity. In this episode, we are using Drury’s appeal to take a closer look at the impact of history and cultural legacies on our legal system.
Listen to Episode 1:
Episode 2: Ruxton v Lang – the importance of perspective
In 1998, Fiona Lang was charged under the Road Traffic Act of being in charge of a motor vehicle while over the limit: drink driving. Fiona pled the defence of necessity, saying she was fleeing in fear for her life. The sheriff dismissed her plea, discounting the evidence that Fiona provided to support her claim. She was charged, and leave to appeal was refused.
This episode, by discussing Fiona’s story, we take a closer look at the impact of perspective in legal decision making. Whose stories are told in court? Whose stories matter? What type of evidence is deemed legally relevant, and what type is disregarded?
Listen to Episode 2:
Episode 3: Coyle v Coyle – the practice of fairness
Mr and Mrs Coyle were married for 25 years. After several years of being separated, Mrs Coyle filed for divorce. They had accumulated some wealth over the years, and they agreed to share this wealth evenly. However, Mrs Coyle wanted further compensation above and beyond that.
In this third and final episode, we will look at the Coyles’s case to explore whether there is difference between the spirit of a law and the way it is applied in practice.
Listen to Episode 3:
In this bonus episode, we discuss the impact that feminist judgments can have, and how they are meaningful.
In the first half of the episode, Amrita Ahluwalia-McMeddes and Gabrielle Blackburn, creators of the podcast, discuss what resonated with them, as non-legal experts, when they first read the Scottish Feminist Judgments book, and why they decided to create a podcast about it.
In the second half, the editors of the book (Chloë Kennedy, Sharon Cowan and Vanessa Munro) discuss how feminist judging can help achieve fairer legal outcomes.
Listen to the Bonus Episode: