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Law and Gender$
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Joanne Conaghan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199592920

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592920.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 September 2021

A Tale of Two Cases

A Tale of Two Cases

(p.29) 2 A Tale of Two Cases
Law and Gender

Joanne Conaghan

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines two leading English law cases separated by half a century in which gender considerations feature strongly: Best v Fox and R v R. In the winter of 1949, after a horrible accident that happened to her husband at work, Julia Best brought an action against his employers, Samuel Fox & Co Ltd, for interference with her right to her husband's consortium. In R v R, the House of Lords took the momentous step of recognizing the possibility of rape in marriage notwithstanding apparent legislative and doctrinal authority to the contrary. Among other things the analysis demonstrates the formal, that is, convention-compliant, nature of legal argument, the presentation of judicial decisions as rational and preordained, and the extent to which these formal features help to mask legal uncertainty and the exercise of judicial discretion. The analysis also highlights the processes and techniques through which judges promote or resist legal change and the various ways in which time is deployed in these contexts.

Keywords:   English law, case law, gender, Best v Fox, R v R, legal argument, judicial discretion, judicial decisions, legal change

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