Category Archives: Reblogged

any post that’s almost all links

Empiricism and Equality: Studying Fathers’ Rights – Robson reviews Behre at Jotwell Equality

Empiricism and Equality: Studying Fathers’ Rights – Jotwell: Equality.

Very interesting, go and have a look at the review – and the article (Kelly A. Behre, Digging Beneath the Equality Language: The Influence of the Fathers’ Rights Movement on Intimate Partner Violence Public Policy Debates and Family Law Reform, 21 Wm. & Mary J.  Women & L. (forthcoming 2014), available at SSRN.).

While discussions, critiques, and analysis of the equality rhetoric of the international fathers’ rights movements are not novel, Kelly Behre’s article, Digging Beneath the Equality Language: The Influence of the Fathers’ Rights Movement on Intimate Partner Violence Public Policy Debates and Family Law Reform, does – – – as the title promises – – – “dig beneath.” The article’s first section is an excellent overview of the equality narratives of the fathers’ rights movement, including the appeal to civil rights movements and the use of both discrimination and gender-neutral tropes. But the real contribution of Behre’s article is her exploration of the relationship between empiricism and equality. [from Ruthann Robson’s explanation of why she likes the article – lots]

 

Máiréad Enright on reproductive rights in Ireland – past & present colliding

A belated link to a post by Máiréad Enright over at Inherently Human about symphysiotomya surgical procedure which breaks bones in the pelvic region to allow vaginal delivery:

“Symphysiotomy was thought to permanently enlarge the pelvis, and therefore, when carried out in a first pregnancy, it might remove the necessity for a woman with ‘disproportion’ to face repeated CS in future pregnancies. This was a particular problem for Catholic doctors. Contraception was practised in most developed countries, making repeat problem pregnancies less common, and non-Catholic doctors advised sterilisation after three CS. Irish Catholic doctors were unable or unwilling to do this. They were aware of criticism by colleagues who believed that Catholic religious structures disadvantaged patients. ” (from Jacqueline Morrissey, ‘The murder of infants? Symphysiotomy in Ireland, 1944-66″ (2012) 20(5) History Ireland, quoted in The Journal November 2012 “A history of symphysiotomy: the impact of Catholic ethics on Irish medicine”, here)

Many women who were given the procedure testify that they were not properly informed, did not consent and were not even told about the procedure during recovery.     This procedure was not performed in any other country where there was the capacity to provide safe C-sections.

The procedure was used until the 1980’s.  Since then, there have been court cases, a Report, an Independent Review, and now the group Survivors of Symphysiotomy have asked the UN Committee Against Torture to look into the Irish experience (see the SOS report here).  Máiréad’s post examines, in some fascinating detail, the Irish state responses to the UN Human Rights Committee [UNHRC]in a recent ICCPR review, with particular reference to the proposal for redress of women who received this surgery.

Her conclusion is both brutally clear and nuanced in its analysis:

At Geneva, the state delegation seemed poorly prepared to discuss institutional gender-based violence. The common sense that Ireland is ‘facing up to its past’ is self-satisfied nonsense. True, the papers are happy to print stories of oppression and violence suffered in an Ireland neatly consigned to some long ago time. But it has proven too easy to swat away public scrutiny of the administrative systems which the state has devised for the management of the Magdalene women, the subjects of the Ryan report, the children abused in national schools, the women subjected to symphysiotomy, and, soon, the women and children circulated through and confined in the Mother and Baby Homes. Those systems are structured by a strange intertwining of paternalism and penny-pinching. In ‘the past’, the Irish state was frankly committed to containing, disciplining and directing the conduct of those considered unfit to think for themselves, and at the lowest possible cost. Today’s redress policy is a softer, but no less threatening, echo of that grim political economy.via Ireland, Symphysiotomy and the UNHRC | Inherently Human

Grim is the word.  Those of you following the current debates over abortion law and practice in Ireland  will find this post a critically important piece of context, both historical and contemporary.

Once you have read the post described above, read another more recent post by Máiréad, over at Critical Legal Thinking.  This one describes what is known and not known about a recent case dealt with under Ireland’s abortion laws.  READ IT, please, if you have any interest in these issues.

Once you have done that you will know much more about the current state of the law in Ireland, you might have new insights into the state of the law in your jurisdiction, and you will probably want to know more about Máiréad Enright.  So,

  • follow her on twitter@MaireadEnright
  • learn about what she does at Kent Law School as a lecturer, here
  • anticipate what is sure to be a no holds barred Irish Feminist Judgments project here and here
  • virtually attend an Economic and Social Research Council seminar series she co-organizes – The Public Life of Private Law – here (because there is audio of so many things you missed)
  • read some of her work on SSRN here, such as Girl Interrupted: Citizenship and the Irish Hijab Debate (2011) 20 Social and Legal Studies  463,
  • and find more in the blogosphere by looking here (or, of course, any search engine, since she’s probably writing something right now)

Don’t waste time feeling inadequate either.

via Impact Ethics – Commentary by Rachael Johnstone: Privileging Infertility over Abortion in New Brunswick

whath/t Sanda Rodgers for this very interesting piece by Dr. Rachael Johnstone.

Privileging Infertility over Abortion in New Brunswick at Impact Ethics blog

If it were part of a larger commitment to create a spectrum of women’s reproductive health services, the infertility fund could be laudable. However, when contrasted with the government’s long held, paternalistic stance against the creation of substantive access to abortion, it suggests more alarming commitments. Validating the desires of women to have children by investing money in expensive (often unsuccessful) treatments, while simultaneously denying the rights of those facing unwanted pregnancies by failing to provide relatively minimal financial support, suggests deeply troubling views of women’s reproductive rights. If pregnancy is the only reproductive choice the government supports, what happens to women who do not want to reproduce, or are unable or unwilling to support a child? What do these policies say about the value of women’s contributions to the community? Moreover, without clear policy guidelines to protect the health of women who undergo infertility treatment, what message is the government sending about the importance of women’s health?

 

reblogged from Dean Sossin's Blog | Osgoode’s Approach to the “Integrated” Law School LPP

can’t exaggerate the importance of this issue.

Dean Sossin’s Blog | Osgoode’s Approach to the “Integrated” Law School LPP.

 

April 4, 2014

In November, 2013, Convocation of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) voted to approve Ryerson University and the University of Ottawa as the providers of the new, post-JD pathway to licensing, the “Law Practice Program” (LPP). Importantly, the LPP is a three year pilot project (with a possible extension of a further two years). At the same meeting of Convocation an application from Lakehead University’s new law school to deliver an “integrated practice curriculum” that would fully satisfy the new LPP requirements was unanimously approved. As a result, students graduating from Lakehead’s new three year program (its first graduating class will be in 2016) will not be required to article or take the LPP after graduation, but may move directly into the licensing process and write the licensing examinations. Subsequent to the November decisions, LSUC has indicated that it will entertain applications from other law schools wishing to offer an integrated practice curriculum that fully meets the skills and tasks competencies listed in the original Request for Proposals (RFP) for the LPP. 

In February of 2014, Osgoode’s faculty met to discuss the implications of the LPP for the J.D. program. Arising from that meeting, I have worked with a group of Osgoode faculty and senior administrators who volunteered to take a leadership role in gathering more information and broader perspectives on the issue. We hope this project, which is ongoing, will inform a broader discussion at Osgoode (and, potentially, across law schools and with the profession). We feel it important to signal that it is not the intention of Osgoode Hall Law School to make any application to the LSUC at this time. Osgoode’s final decision will have to wait for answers to the questions we raise below and until our discussion with the whole Osgoode community is complete. The considerations informing the conclusion of the working group are described briefly below.

 

1. Osgoode’s Ongoing Leadership in Experiential Learning

Osgoode has been—and continues to be—a leader in the continually evolving thinking about what constitutes a quality legal education that will enable graduates to flourish in a varied and dynamic professional environment. We have had an ongoing discussion about the importance of clinical education and experiential learning for decades. We have had two major curriculum reforms in the recent past and multiple strategic planning processes. The resulting vision we have developed of experiential learning and reflective professionalism at Osgoode seems significantly broader than the view of “tasks,” “skills,” and “competencies” reflected in the LSUC’s Pathways Report and the RFP for the LPP. For example, our understanding of the educational value of “competencies” differs from the use that is made of this concept in the requirements for an Accredited Law Degree—particularly in the context of today’s exciting, complex and pluralistic profession. The Lakehead program has been very intentionally constructed with a particular practice vision in mind, one suited to practice in Ontario’s northern communities. Osgoode’s program, by contrast, seeks to prepare students for a multiplicity of professional roles in a wide array of practice contexts.

2. Uncertainty and Ambiguity

The LPP is itself a pilot project, and we are keenly interested in whether and how well the specified regulatory objectives are met by the project, and what other effects the LPP might have on, for example, articling. We would also need to know more about the plan for evaluation of the Lakehead integrated curriculum and how the graduates of that program are received by the profession upon graduation. 

There are operational uncertainties regarding the LPP. For instance, the LSUC has not indicated how work placements are to be secured or what will happen if there are fewer placements than students. In the event of chronic shortages, questions arise about the viability of sustaining the LPP even over the short term. Serious questions also persist as to the impact of LPP placements on the ongoing availability of clinical placements, and vice-versa. Recently, law students were surprised and concerned by the way that the implementation of the LPP has significantly changed the cost of the LSUC licensing process. No doubt there will be more issues and challenges as the roll out of the LPP continues.

The environment is shifting fast and Osgoode will want to fix on a path only after serious deliberation, consultation and reflection. The LSUC has instituted a significant number of changes—possibly the most significant changes in the last half century—in a very short period of time (without, in our view, an adequate evidentiary basis, sufficient reflection, or consultation with the law schools). The possibility of other changes, including the abolition of articling and the changing nature of the job market for our graduates, also highlights the importance of having as full information as possible prior to any decision.

Osgoode is particularly concerned about the lack of information from the LSUC about what kind of reporting and monitoring regime would be required of any law school offering an “integrated practice curriculum.” The potential of increased monitoring, oversight, reporting and regulation by the LSUC raises critical issues of academic independence and integrity.

3. Cost Consequences

For Osgoode, there are potential costs to modifying our program in response to these recent and still unfolding developments. There are costs to the vision of the JD education and the program we have built (including the very direct impact on our current clinical offerings). There are costs in terms of staff, planning and expenses. For students, there are costs in terms of fees and time invested in new programs with uncertain returns, but also the cost of opportunities for broader legal education foregone. Nonetheless, Osgoode must continue with its established approach to the planning of its degree programs, one that emphasizes being responsive to changing contexts and alert to the costs and benefits associated with change.

4. Responsive Planning for a Dynamic Profession

Although we conclude at this time that the case to immediately modify our JD program is not convincing, Osgoode must approach our future plans with attention to the full scope of our context and with a full understanding of the implications for our students, legal education, and the profession. 

One way to understand the task is to deepen the concept of “practice readiness” beyond its use for the short-term task of licensing. The Osgoode JD aims to prepare students for a multiplicity of professional roles in a wide array of practice contexts by fostering analytical, communication, ethical and professional skills that will be valuable throughout careers that will see significant dynamic change.  In addition to the changes in the “Pathways” to licensing, it is clear that major shifts are underway in the profession and the market for legal services.  As such, there is little doubt that the occasion is upon us to think deeply about the future of legal education in light of such change.

To ensure that the Osgoode JD continues to ready its graduates for excellence throughout their careers, some essential tasks for Osgoode to address now include to:

                     Identify the most important social challenges and opportunities relevant to the design of our JD program, such as regulatory changes, shifts in job markets for JD graduates, changes in the structure of law firms including mergers and failures, retrenchment and expansion in US and other foreign law schools, and increased presence of foreign-trained law graduates in local markets;

                     Review and reflect on our curriculum reform efforts to re-articulate the essential values advanced by the Osgoode JD;

                     Develop a clear articulation of what is meant by “experiential learning” at Osgoode and how Osgoode’s approach relates to the LSUC’s regulatory competencies;

                     Continue Osgoode’s leadership in innovative lifelong professional education and reflect on the benefits and costs associated with new developments such as technology-enhanced learning, new approaches to pedagogy and best practices in professional training, and the comparative experience of professional training in other fields and in other jurisdictions; and

                     Connect to other law schools in Ontario and outside the jurisdiction regarding shared visions about the future of legal education and the legal profession.

By reflecting carefully in these ways on the convergence of so many major developments in our legal landscape, we will continue, in collaboration with our students and alumni, to build on Osgoode’s longstanding tradition of leadership as a public institution that offers responsive and reflective legal education.

via feminists@law: Contribution of Feminism to 3 Contemporary Debates About Law

Nicola Barker speaks on ‘Feminism, Family and the Politics of Austerity’ (with accompanying powerpoint slides); Sinead Ring speaks on ‘The Pernicious Nature of Rape Myths and How They Continue to Affect Rape Prosecutions’; Maria Drakopoulou speaks on ‘Feminism, Tradition and the Question of Sexual Violence’; and Rosemary Hunter acts as discussant, commenting on all three papers.

check it out in audio & ppt at feminists@law.