Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
RS15_09: Democratic Deficit in Legal Regulation
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Barry Sullivan, Loyola University Chicago
Session Chair: Mavis Maclean, University of Oxford
Location: UP.2.220
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Second Floor Oxford Road

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Scotland, Equality Law and Gender

Nicole Busby

University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom

Equality law inhabits a somewhat undetermined territory within Scotland’s current devolution settlement. With limited exceptions it is a reserved area whereas human rights are devolved although the relevant provisions of the Scotland Act 1998 must be read alongside the UK’s Human Rights Act 1998. In the Brexit referendum of June 2016, 62% of the Scottish electorate voted to remain within the EU. Whilst some argue that Brexit provides an ideal opportunity to exploit Scotland’s indeterminate equality framework by taking bold and decisive action, many ask whether Scotland is really so different from many UK regions that voted to remain. The dominant political response to Brexit’s perceived threat to gender equality is for Scotland to be distinct, to go beyond the non-regression principle and become a global leader. Potential is offered by the use of the exceptions to the Equality Act 2010 permitted under the Scotland Act 2016, as well as the Scottish Government’s implementation of the socio-economic duty. However, without greater devolved powers in the area of equality, it seems unlikely that Scotland will be able to forge its own distinct path. This paper considers the threats and opportunities that Brexit poses to gender equality in Scotland.

Brexit, Gender and (the End of) Human Rights

Susan Millns

University of Sussex, United Kingdom

The UK has long been known for its scepticism about the value of European human rights law and this scepticism has spanned both the UK’s relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights as well as European Union Law. Equally feminist scholars have expressed mixed views over the years about the value of human rights (constructed in an abstract and gender neutral fashion) to ameliorate women’s substantive inequalities and to address violations of women’s human rights in practice. This contribution explores the implications of Brexit for women’s human rights protection in the UK and in Europe. It will investigate the development of fundamental rights guarantees in the European Union and the extent to which this has assisted in addressing violations of women’s human rights particularly in the British context. The paper will explore the relationships and tensions between the various sources of European human rights law (including the EU’s Treaties, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the case law of the European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights) and will seek to answer the question ‘What has the EU done in practice for the human rights of women in Europe and the UK?’ The contribution will furthermore explore the consequences and future prospects for the UK’s withdrawal from EU human rights obligations, particularly given the longstanding desire of some in government to end the UK’s association with other forms of European human rights protection, notably the debated UK withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights.

"The Street Is My Private Space": Being Without Shelter In Leipzig

Luisa T Schneider

Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany

In Germany, the right to privacy and intimacy are basic rights.

Privacy is defined spatially as the non-public sphere, the domestic arena, the family circle and private life, and the right to intimacy includes among other things sexuality and sexual life.

However, these notions of privacy and intimacy as well as the processes in place to protect persons from intimate partner violence are based on living circumstances wherein the private sphere is separated from the public sphere through the walls of one’s home. But how is intimacy and privacy experienced among persons who live under conditions which do not allow for this spatial separation. How do such citizens perceive their legal agency and how do they interact with the state when they are wronged?

Through an analysis of policy and legal documents and ethnographic fieldwork, I analyse how privacy and intimate relationships are experienced and lived without regular shelter and examines the role that violence plays in the intimate relationships of unhoused persons. How do they witness, expect, endure and execute intimate partner violence?

How do unhoused persons mediate and regulate violence within their relationships? How do they relate to and interact with state laws and law enforcement? Do they take steps to realise their rights and do they seek the protection of the state? And if not which, if any, alternative mechanisms do they employ?

I consider three focus groups: unhoused persons; state and legal institutions and intermediaries who provide services (faith-based organisations, ngos, voluntary and community-based organisations) Based on research in Leipzig, I consider the interplay between the legal-structural, the institutional-political, the social-relational and the intimate-personal and combine anthropology and law.

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