Feminist Judging in Lower Courts

Rosemary Hunter, Sharyn Roach Anleu, Kathy Mack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Much of the literature on feminist judging concentrates on judges and judging in appellate and superior courts. This article extends that literature by investigating whether and how feminist judging manifests in lower courts, which deal with the vast bulk of criminal offences and civil claims. It does so through analysis of transcripts of non-trial criminal proceedings in Australian magistrates courts, focusing on judicial practices rather than the gender or other known characteristics of the magistrates. Clear instances of feminist judging are relatively rare. Where they occur, they are often in the form of isolated feminist ‘moments’ rather than a magistrate exhibiting a distinct feminist orientation. The article reflects on what these findings suggest about the nature of judging in lower courts and the possibilities for feminist judging in that context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-617
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number4
Early online date13 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Feminist judging
  • Lower courts
  • Judging
  • Feminist approach


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