Law 692: Feminist Legal Studies Workshop I (Fall 2015)

1 credit

Course description:

Course Outline for 2015-2016

The Feminist Legal Studies Workshop is designed to enable students to work closely with faculty in analyzing and discussing with leading feminist theorists and scholars visiting Queen’s Faculty the topics of the speakers’ papers.

The Feminist Legal Studies Workshop course is offered for one course credit per term. In the fall term of 2015, it is designated as Law 692; in the winter term of 2016 it is designated as Law 693. Students may enroll for one credit in the fall term, or for one credit in the winter term, or for a total of two credits in both terms combined. This course can also be combined with an ISP for students who may wish to carry out in-depth independent supervised work in relation to one or more of the areas discussed in this workshop

Scheduling details:

The workshop speakers will typically be scheduled for the regular visitor slots on Mondays and Fridays, which run from 1 to 2:30 pm, and one or two additional meetings per term will be scheduled around everyone’s class and other commitments. Speaker dates and locations are listed below.

Nature, mode, and content of evaluation of student participation:
Students will attend all the speakers events (4/term or all 7-8), will prepare advance reading for the first session of each term and two advance questions for the rest of the speakers in that term, plus 1-2 pages of briefing notes after each session (60% of course credit), will participate in the discussion at the speakers visit (10% of course credit), and will prepare a short term paper of approximately 10-15 pages on a topic that relates to any one of the speakers events (30% of course credit). To be taught by Profs. Amani and Lahey.

Fall term speakers (Fall 2015):

Meeting: Monday, September 28, 2015 at 1pm in Macdonald Hall room 100.

Monday, October 5, 2015
1pm-2:30pm, Room 202

Speaker: Marguerite Russell, Barrister (UK), Barrister and Solicitor (Ont.), Founder Member of Garden Court Chambers, UK, LLM Queen's Law; specializing in criminal defense, fraud, human rights, and civil protection

Topic: Women and Trafficking: International, Domestic, and Arctic Legal Issues and Challenges

Abstract: This paper examines the economic and legal implications of trafficking in a world in which large numbers of women are trafficked across international borders each year, and the limitations on the protection afforded by national and international anti-trafficking laws. In practice, the very vulnerabilities of women victims of violence and abuse limits their access to or their ability to provide evidence within the domestic administrative or legal proceedings that are intended to give effect to international law obligations. Although national and international laws are often believed to provide women with protection under immigration and asylum laws when seeking to escape their country of origin, the practical, economic, and legal barriers that women in such situations encounter means that these laws all too often fail to provide women and girls meaningful protection from transnational criminal exploitation -- and even more so in the governance frontier known as the Arctic.

Biography: Marguerite Russell is a barrister (UK and Ont.) and is one of the Founder Members of Garden Court Chambers in London. Throughout her career, Marguerite has been committed to developing understanding of equality and human rights issues both within the legal process and in society at large. She was an invited speaker at a symposium organised for Madame Justice L'Heureux-Dube on her retirement from the Canadian Supreme Court, has advised Labour MPs and MEPs on crime issues as well as domestic violence, abortion, embryo experimentation, and reproduction technologies, and has presented papers on various criminal law issues at various North American and European conferences, and has presented her work on national and international trafficking at the United Nations CSW NGO Conference in New York, the Law and Society International Conference in Hawaii, the Faculty of Law, Northern (Arctic) Federal University in Arkhangelsk, Russia, and at professional advisory meetings.


OOO v. Commission of Police (High Ct. Justice, 2011, UK)
L v. Children's Commissioner (Criminal Ct. of Appeal, 2013, UK)

Monday, October 19, 2015
1pm-2:30pm, Room 202

Dr. Sule Tomkinson, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Institute for Policy and Social Research, University of Kansas. Doctoral Studies in the Department of Political Science at the Université de Montréal. Her Dissertation: “Contextualizing discretion: Micro-dynamics of Canada’s refugee determination-system”, based on the first empirical study of refugee hearings, received an outstanding dissertation mention; She was nominated for Dean's Honor List. Dr. Tomkinson also holds an MA degree in Theory and Practice of Human Rights from University of Essex. Her sociological research examines the intersection of law, governance of migration, and adjudication of non-citizens' rights claims in Canada. Her overall research program is to reflect her strong interest in a broader research agenda that seeks to understand how international human rights are employed, negotiated, or challenged through front-line practices in administrative tribunals in relation to non-citizens.

Topic: Knocking on refugee law’s door: persecution claims based on gender and sexual orientation


Event Poster

Monday, October 26, 2015
1pm-2:30pm, Room 202

Dr. Vrinda Narain, Associate Professor, McGill University, joint appointment in the Faculty of Law and the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies in the Faculty of Arts. She is also a Research Associate at the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State, South Africa. Her research and teaching focus on constitutional law, social diversity and feminist legal theory.

Topic: Critical Multiculturalism


Reading: The Place of the Niqab in the Courtroom

Monday, November 9, 2015
1pm-2:30pm, Room 202

Dr. Elaine Brooks-Craig, Assistant Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, researching in the areas of Evidence, Sexual assault law, Public commissions, Criminal law ethics, Constitutional law, Law, Feminist legal theory.

Topic: Sexual Assault Law, Ethical Lawyering, and the Judicial Process t.b.c


Background Reading: The Inhospitable Court (forthcoming UTLJ)

Optional Reading: Canada’s 'Top Sex Crime Lawyers' (2015 UBC Law Review)