There has been a widespread resurgence of rights talk in social and legal discourses pertaining to the regulation of family life, as well as an increase in the use of rights in family law cases, in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia. Rights, Gender and Family Law addresses the implications of these developments - and, in particular, the impact of rights-based approaches upon the idea of welfare and its practical application. There are now many areas of family law in which rights and welfare based approaches have been forced together. But whilst, to many, they are premised upon different ethics - respectively, of justice and of care - for others, they can nevertheless be reconciled. In this respect, a central concern is the 'gender-blind' character of rights-based approaches, and the ontological and practical consequences of their employment in the gendered context of the family. Rights, Gender and Family Law explores the tensions between rights-based and welfare-based approaches: explaining their differences and connections; considering whether, if at all, they are reconcilable; and addressing the extent to which they can advantage or disadvantage the interests of women, children and men. It may be that rights-based discourses will dominate family law, at least in the way that social policy and legislation respond to calls of equality of rights between mothers and fathers. This collection, however, argues that rights cannot be given centre-stage without thinking through the ramifications for gendered power-relations, and the welfare of children. It will be of interest to researchers and scholars working in the fields of family law, gender studies and social welfare.
1. Welfare, Rights, Care and Gender in Family Law, Shazia Choudhry, Jonathan Herring and Julie Wallbank 2. Gender, Rights, Responsibilities and Social Policy, Brid Featherstone 3. Child Protection, Gender and Rights, 4. Rights and Responsibility: Girls and Boys Who Behave Badly, Christine Piper 5. (En)Gendering the Fusion of Rights and Responsibilities in the Law of Contact, Julie Wallbank 6. Fatherhood, Law and Fathers’ Rights: Rethinking the Relationship Between Gender and Welfare, Richard Collier 7. Mandatory Prosecution and Arrest as a Form of Compliance with Due Diligence Duties in Domestic Violence – The Gender Implications, Shazia Choudhry 8. The Limitations of Equality Discourses on the Contours of Intimate Obligations, Lisa Glennon 9. Public Norms and Private Lives: Rights, Fairness and Family Law, Alison Diduck 10. The Identification of ‘Parents’ and ‘Siblings’: New Possibilities under the Reformed Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, Caroline Jones 11. Children with Exceptional Needs: Welfare, Rights and Caring Responsibilities, Joanna Bridgeman 12. Relational Autonomy and Family Law, Jonathan Herring 13. Concluding Thoughts: The Enduring Chaos of Family Law, Helen Rhodes