12 February 2020

BOOK: Caroline DERRY, Lesbianism and the Criminal Law - Three Centuries of Legal Regulation in England and Wales (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). ISBN 978-3-030-35300-1, 92,64 €

(Source: Routledge)

Routledge is publishing a new book on lesbianism and criminal law in English and Welsh legal history.


This book offers a comprehensive examination of the ways in which the criminal justice system of England and Wales has regulated, and failed or refused to regulate, lesbianism. It identifies the overarching approach as one of silencing: lesbianism has not only been ignored or regarded as unimaginable, but was deliberately excluded from legal discourses. A series of case studies ranging from 1746 to 2013 from parliamentary debates to individual prosecutions shed light on the complex process of regulation through silencing. They illuminate its evolution over three centuries and explore when and why it has been breached. The answers Derry uncovers can be fully understood only in the context of surrounding social and legal developments which are also considered. Lesbianism and the Criminal Law makes an important contribution to the growing bodies of literature on feminism, sexuality and the law and the legal history of sexual offences.


Caroline Derry is Lecturer in Law at the Open University, UK. She taught for fifteen years at London Metropolitan University where she was a senior lecturer in Criminal and Evidence Law and Gender and Law, and LLB course leader. She has been a visiting lecturer in Criminal Law at SOAS and at Paris Descartes. She is a co-author of Complete Criminal Law (OUP, 2018) and Gender and Law (Routledge, 2018).


Mary/Charles Hamilton: Eighteenth-Century Female Husband Prosecutions
Louise Mourey and the ‘Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon’
‘Gross Indecency Between Females’: The 1921 Parliamentary Debates
Victor/Valerie Barker: Sexology and Challenges to Silencing
The Wolfenden Report: A Shift in Silencing
Allen: Sexual Offences Prosecutions in the Late Twentieth Century
McNally: After the Sexual Offences Act 2003

More info here

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