Equal Consideration and Informed Imagining: Recognising and Responding to the Lived Experiences of Abused Women Who Kill

37 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2018 Last revised: 7 Sep 2018

See all articles by Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins

University of Canberra – Faculty of Law; ANU College of Law

Anna Carline

Leicester Law School

Patricia L. Easteal

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice

Date Written: February 3, 2018

Abstract

Equality is a fundamental concern of human existence. Expressed in the principle of equality before the law it requires that those who come before the law are entitled to be treated as being of equal value and to be given ‘equal consideration’. In circumstances where those who come before the law are marked by their differences, giving of equal consideration requires that difference be understood and taken into account. The identification of difference does not of itself determine the question of whether different treatment is warranted in the interests of equality. However, this article argues that understanding difference is a precondition for the promotion of true equality and that, in pursuit of understanding difference, it is necessary for us to acknowledge the limitations of our capacity to understand the lived experience of ‘others’ and to actively work to engage with these experiences. In the context of the criminal justice system, we over abused women who kill as illustrative of this need, focusing upon the availability and operation of self-defence in England/Wales, Queensland and Victoria. In doing so, we consider the capacity of the law, legal process and legal actors to engage with the lived experiences of these women, highlighting the im portance of ‘informed imagining’.

Keywords: equality under the law; self-defence; battered women who kill; informed imaginings

JEL Classification: K14, K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Hopkins, Anthony and Carline, Anna and Easteal, Patricia L., Equal Consideration and Informed Imagining: Recognising and Responding to the Lived Experiences of Abused Women Who Kill (February 3, 2018). Melbourne University Law Review, Vol. 41, No. 3, 2018, 1201-1236; ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 18-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3117654

Anthony Hopkins

University of Canberra – Faculty of Law ( email )

Australia

ANU College of Law

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Anna Carline

Leicester Law School ( email )

University Road
Leicester LE1 7RH, LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/law/people/anna-carline

Patricia L. Easteal (Contact Author)

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice ( email )

Australia

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