Women In Justice - Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
The Centre for Law, Crime & Justice at Strathclyde Law School
The second John Fitzsimons Memorial Lecture in Criminal Law and Justice.
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, FRSA
Women in Justice
In the Chair: Dr Frances McMenamin, QC.
One of the virtues of our modern justice system is legal equality. Yet in a world where women's and men's experience tends to be so different, do (and can) universal notions of justice hold true? How, if at all, are women written into the law, treated by the law, and judged before the law? Are universal standards of behaviour and rationality in reality male standards?
And in a system traditionally dominated by men and male norms, how do women working in the justice system fare?
In this John Fitzsimons Memorial Lecture Baroness Helena Kennedy QC will address these and other questions.
Helena Kennedy is one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers and active public figures. She has spent her professional life giving voice to those who have least power within the system, championing civil liberties and promoting human rights.
As a leading barrister and an expert in human rights law, civil liberties and constitutional issues. She is a member of the House of Lords and chair of Justice – the British arm of the International Commission of Jurists. A bencher of Gray's Inn, she was the chair of Charter 88 from 1992 to 1997, the Human Genetics Commission from 1998 to 2007 and the British Council from 1998 to 2004. She also chaired the Power Inquiry, which reported on the state of British democracy and produced the Power Report in 2006. She has received honours for her work on human rights from the governments of France and Italy and has been awarded more than thirty honorary doctorates..
As a barrister, she has acted in many of the most prominent cases of the last 40 years including the Brighton Bombing, the Michael Bettany espionage trial, the Guildford Four appeal and the bombing of the Israeli embassy. She has also acted in many homicide trials with a domestic setting. She was the British member of the recent International Bar Association Task Force on Terrorism. As a life peer she also participates in the House of Lords on issues concerned with human rights, civil liberties, social justice and culture.
A prominent author and broadcaster, Helena was a seminal force in promoting equal opportunities for women at the Bar. Ahead of her time, she was a singular voice in the seventies and eighties, writing and broadcasting on the discrimination experienced by women in the law, as lawyers but also as users of the law - victims and defendants. She became a member of the Bar Council to champion women in the profession and called for research into the experience of women lawyers and particularly their absence on the Bench.This led to changes in policy in the Lord Chancellor's Department and codes of practice at the Bar.
The John Fitzsimons Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The evening also celebrates the courage, integrity and inspiration of John Fitzsimons, who before becoming a Sheriff was a Lecturer in Criminal Law and Jurisprudence at the Law School for two decades, and an inspiration to many.
John’s belief in the importance of education and equality of opportunity is now embodied in the John Fitzsimons Memorial Fund. The Fund exists to provide financial support to academically meritorious mature Strathclyde Law students who are in acute financial need.
Two Hours CPD for most Professions
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