1st Edition

Law, Women Judges and the Gender Order Lessons from the High Court of Australia

By Kcasey McLoughlin Copyright 2022
    262 Pages
    by Routledge

    262 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book seeks to understand how women judges are situated as legal knowers on the High Court of Australia by asking whether a near-equal gender balance on the High Court has disrupted the Court’s historically masculinist gender regime.

    This book examines how the High Court’s gender regime operates once there is more than one woman on the bench. It explores the following questions: How have the Court’s gender relations accommodated the presence women on the bench? How have the women themselves accommodated those pre-existing gender relations? How might legal judgments and reasoning change as a result of changing gender dynamics on the bench? To develop answers to these (and other) questions the book pursues a methodology that conceptualises the High Court as an institution with a particular gender regime shaped historically by the dominant gender order of the wider society. The intersection between the (gendered) individuals and the (gendered) institution in which they operate produces and reproduces that institution’s gender regime. Hence, the enquiry is not so much asking ‘have women judges made a difference?’ but rather is asking how should we understand women judges’ relationship with the law, a relationship that is shaped as much by the individual judge as by the institutional context in which they operate.

    Scholars, legal practitioners and researchers interested in judicial reasoning, gender diversity and the legal profession, gender and politics will be interested in this book because it breaks new ground as a case study of a Court’s gender regime at a particular time.

    1: The masculinist foundations of Australia’s legal and Constitutional framework.  2: Jobs for the Girls: Judicial Appointments to the High Court of Australia and the Politics of Merit.  3: Sworn To Be: Gender, Difference and Judicial Swearing-in Speech.   4: A Judgment of One’s Own? Staking a Claim to Judicial Authority.  5: PGA v The Queen and the Judicial Imagination.  6: Gendered Harms in Monis v The Queen.  7: The Art of Looking Back: The Farewell Ritual and the Construction of Judicial Legacies.  8: The High Court Today: Negotiating Progress, Privilege and Hegemonic Masculinity.


    Kcasey McLoughlin is a Senior Lecturer at Newcastle Law School, Australia.

    Winner of the Law and Society Association of Australia’s book prize, 2022