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  4. Equality and diversity in legal education: From the classroom to the staff room




Equality and diversity in legal education: From the classroom to the staff room




This workshop aims to launch City University London's drive for formal recognition through Athena Swan, initially with the attainment of an institutional Bronze Award.

Launched in 2005, the Athena Swan Charter encourages and recognises commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM). Later in 2015 The Charter was expanded to recognise work in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL) as well as in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. Athena Swan now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly.

The City Law School has placed equality and diversity at the heart of its new School Vision and Strategy 2016. The workshop will invite four outstanding and internationally recognised academics to share their insights on the current landscape around equality and diversity with possible themes including the following: radical pedagogy; experiential learning; work/life balance; the relationship between academia and wider communities; intersectionality; the bounds of 'free speech'; equal opportunities and the construction of 'merit'; the academic lifestyle; neoliberalism and bureaucratisation of higher education; and the role of academic law in social change.

About the event

Engaging pedagogy to advance diversity in legal education by Professor Faisal Bhabha

There is resounding consensus that diversity in legal education is a priority. Yet, law schools on the whole continue to be criticized for failing to deliver results. The author has argued for a conceptual re-orientation in legal education to account for the failings of first-wave measures to promote diversity. His model for change focuses on the form and content of professional identity being produced in the law schools, which the author suggests is out of reach and out of touch for many students from historically marginal groups. By emphasizing the role of experiential education (including clinical education), he argues that diversity can be meaningfully advanced through legal education both in the normative sense (by diversifying perspectives on what it means to be a lawyer) and in a descriptive sense (by including more diverse student populations). There remain diversity gaps in a numerical sense that academic administrators must also continue to be responsive to. The author will describe his program for diversity promotion through interdependent curricular and administrative initiatives. Grounded in a normative framework of access to justice and equality, a more engaged pedagogical commitment to diversity hopes to avoid the perils of the past a deliver on the promises for the future.

Faisal Bhabha is an Associate Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School, in Faisal profileToronto, Canada, where he is also the Faculty Director of the Anti-Discrimination Intensive Program, the Mooting Program and the Canadian Common Law LLM degree program. He has researched and published in the areas of constitutional law, multiculturalism, disability rights, national security and access to justice. He teaches human rights, comparative constitutional law, professional responsibility and appellate advocacy. Previously, he sat as Vice-chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. He holds an LLM from Harvard Law School and carried on a varied public and private law practice, appearing before administrative boards and tribunals and at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, where he continues to appear from time to time. He advises and represents a variety of public interest organizations in matters pertaining to constitutional law and human rights. He has lived and worked in the Middle East and South Africa, and has served as a member of the Equity Advisory Group of the Law Society of Upper Canada (the regulator for the Province of Ontario, Canada).

Race, inclusiveness and transformation of legal education in South Africa by Penny Andrews

The widespread student protests on South African university campuses in 2015 marked a pivotal phase in the 21st year of South Africa’s constitutional democracy.   At the University of Cape Town (UCT) the student protests provided an opportunity for institutional reflection and evaluation regarding access to education, UCT’s goals and mission, racial diversity and equality.    Although the racial transformation project at UCT had been underway since 1994, in light of the imperatives of the South African Constitution, the protest campaigns provided added momentum and have accelerated the transformation agenda, including a change in the demographic make-up of staff and students, curricular offerings, pedagogy and institutional culture.   My presentation will examine current transformation strategies underway at the UCT Faculty of Law – with the goals of racial diversity, equality and access.

Professor Penelope (Penny) Andrews is a noted human rights scholar and activist and admitted as Penny headshotan advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa, Penelope Andrews is the Dean and Professor at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Faculty of Law. Prior to joining UCT she was President and Dean at Albany Law School in New York, USA. She was previously the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the City University of New York School of Law (CUNY), where she also sat on the Senate. Prior to joining CUNY, she was a Professor of Law and Director of International Studies at Valparaiso Law School in Indiana, USA. Professor Andrews earned her BA  (majoring in economic history; comparative African government and administration) and her LLB  from the then University of Natal in Durban.  She received an LLM from Columbia University School of Law in New York. She began her teaching career at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia and since then has been tenured at four law schools in Australia and the USA. She has served on significant law school committees and the boards of public interest legal organisations as well as on business councils. A member of the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association, she has participated in and has chaired several accreditation site teams for the American Bar Association's section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. She has also consulted for the Ford Foundation, the United Nations Fund for Women, and the Victorian Commissioner for Equal Opportunity in Australia. She has published four books and over 50 articles that focus on international human rights law, comparative constitutional law, gender and racial equality, and the judiciary. Her most recent book, From Cape Town to Kabul: Rethinking Strategies for Pursuing Women's Human Rights, was published by Ashgate in 2012.

Queering the Australian Law School in a Neo-Liberal Age? by Wayne Morgan

I want to interrogate management and curriculum discourses in Australian law schools, on equality and diversity.  These discourses produce technologies and practices that have been counter-productive, and can be interpreted as panoptic.

I am hoping to do two things.  First, I am hoping to give an analysis of diversity in Australian Law Schools. In both staff and students, are we more or less diverse than we used to be?  How has government policy impacted on diversity?  Where are the holes?  What needs to be done to improve diversity?

The second part of my paper will examine Australian legal-pedagogy and the effects that the neo-liberal “edu-factory” have had on killing diversity in the Australian Law School Curriculum.

Despite the rather bleak picture I will paint, I also want to comment on the fractures and opportunities for subversion or “queering” that discourses of equality and diversity offer and the continuing role of academics and students in activism and social change.

Wayne Morgan is the Associate Dean (Education) for the ANU College of Law.  At the Morgan profileANU, he has previously held appointments as Sub-Dean for the LLB and JD programs.  He has also previously been Deputy Dean of Students for the Australian National University. Wayne has been an Academic Lawyer since 1990. He began teaching at Melbourne University. He has also taught at Charles Darwin University and Flinders University; joining the ANU in 2001. Internationally; he has taught at Columbia University; USA and Nan Kai University; China. He teaches a range of subjects in both international and domestic law; including International Trade Law, International Dispute Resolution and Property. He instigated Law and Sexuality studies at Melbourne University and teaches this course at the ANU. Wayne maintains a small anti-discrimination and human rights practice; where he advises pro-bono clients on discrimination and UN Human Rights Committee cases. He has advised on UN Communications in indigenous issues; as well as refugee and sexuality issues.

Power, Performance and the FemiQueer Politics of Pedagogy by Sharon Cowan

This paper explores the challenges of provoking and navigating emotions in the law sharon cowan profileschool classroom, and in academic writing, particularly when focusing on issues of sex/gender and sexuality. Reflecting on both teaching and academic scholarship, and using a feminist and queer lens, I will discuss the kinds of methods that can be used to challenge heteronormative and traditional forms of knowledge and practice. Inspired by the work of Boal, Calder, Lassonde and others, I examine how the use of alternative techniques, such as visual, audio, dance and theatre, can highlight the importance and difficulty of moving away from deeply entrenched (mostly text based) ways of teaching, learning and knowing law, without reproducing gendered, racialized or other hierarchies (Leo Moore 2008). Recognising the affective and embodied aspects of legal knowledge and practice, and the the role of law in helping to construct and reify gendered and heteronormative roles and rules, can help to better understand what it means to be a subject of law, within and outwith the classroom.

Sharon Cowan is a Professor at the University of Edinburgh Law School, where she teaches criminal law, medical jurisprudence, asylum law and policy, socio-legal research methods, and feminist legal theory. She has published internationally in her key areas of research, including legal pedagogy, sexual offences, domestic violence, and the regulation of sex/gender and sexuality. Recent projects include the Nuffield Foundation funded national empirical project, completed with Helen Baillot and Vanessa Munro, of the UK’s treatment of women’s asylum claims that include an allegation of rape. Her current project is an empirical socio-legal study of the impact of law on transgender people’s lives.


1:30pm - Registration
1:45pm - First session begins
3:30pm - Tea/Coffee break
4:00pm - Second session begins
5:45pm - Drinks Reception
7:00pm - Close

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When & where

1.30pm - 7.00pmTuesday 5th July 2016

Northampton Suite A University Building City, University of London Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB United Kingdom

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City Events Team

+44 (0)20 7040 8037

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