at our Open Days
Professor Rosemary Hunter KC (Hon.) FAcSS
Professor of Law and Socio-Legal Studies
BA (Hons), LLB (Hons) (Melb), JSM, JSD (Stanford).
Professor Hunter began her academic career in Australia, where she taught first at the University of Melbourne and then at Griffith University in Brisbane. At Griffith she served as Director of the Socio-Legal Research Centre and Dean of the Law Faculty. She moved to the UK in 2006, and spent eight years at the University of Kent and four years at Queen Mary University of London before returning to Kent Law School in 2018.
Together with Professor Clare McGlynn and Dr Erika Rackley, she was one of the co-organisers of the Feminist Judgments Project, in which a group of academics and practitioners wrote alternative judgments in a series of key cases in English law, imagining how a feminist judge sitting on the court might have decided the case. The project resulted in the publication of Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice (Hart Publishing, 2010). Professor Hunter has subsequently co-organised feminist judgment projects in Australia (Douglas et al (eds), Australian Feminist Judgments: Righting and Rewriting Law, Hart Publishing, 2014) and New Zealand (McDonald et al (eds), Feminist Judgments of Aotearoa New Zealand: Te Rino – A Two-Stranded Rope, Hart Publishing, 2017), and has supported and advised similar projects in the USA, Northern/Ireland, India, Scotland, Brazil and in International Law, as well as a related project focusing on children’s rights.
In 2019 she was appointed by the Ministry of Justice to an expert panel examining how family courts protect children and adult victims of domestic abuse in child arrangement proceedings. She was the lead author of the panel’s report, Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases (Ministry of Justice, 2020) which resulted in amendments to the then Domestic Abuse Bill and government commitments to significant reforms of the family justice system.
She was a founding editor in 2011 of feminists@law, an online open access journal of feminist legal scholarship, and continues to edit the journal with a group of KLS colleagues. She is also a general editor of two book series: the Onati International Series in Law and Society (with David Nelken), published by Hart/Bloomsbury, and the Edward Elgar Research Handbooks in Law in Society (with Austin Sarat).
Professor Hunter’s research interests lie broadly in feminist and socio-legal scholarship. Her current research is in the areas of family law and procedure, access to justice and judging and the judiciary.
On the subject of judging, she has recently edited a collection of essays in honour of Lady Hale with Professor Erika Rackley (KLS), Justice for Everyone: The Jurisprudence and Legal Lives of Brenda Hale, to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2022.
In family law, prior to the Ministry of Justice project mentioned above, she completed a major, ESRC-funded project, Mapping Paths to Family Justice, with colleagues at the University of Exeter. The research investigated the operation and experiences of different forms of out-of-court family dispute resolution (solicitor negotiations, mediation and collaborative law), and resulted in a book, Mapping Paths to Family Justice: Resolving Family Disputes in Neoliberal Times (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) which won the 2018 SLSA Hart Socio-Legal Book Prize.
In the area of access to justice she has undertaken several projects on litigants in person; and has recently co-authored a contribution on Lawyers and Access to Justice for a forthcoming edited collection on Lawyers in 21st Century Society.
Professor Hunter's main undergraduate teaching responsibilities are in Family Law.
Professor Hunter welcomes PhD candidates in feminist legal studies and socio-legal studies generally, as well as in her specific areas of research interest. However she does not offer supervision on topics focusing on (women’s) human rights.
Professor Hunter is the academic member of the Family Justice Council – a non-departmental public body with an interdisciplinary membership whose task is to monitor the family justice system to ensure it is working effectively and to advise on reforms needed for continuous improvement. She also presents regular sessions on family law issues at the Judicial College, and is a member of the Governing Board of the Onati International Institute for the Sociology of Law.
Previously, she was a member of the Council of JUSTICE, and a member of the Executive Committee and for six years Chair of the Socio-Legal Studies Association.
In 2012 she was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in recognition of her scholarly eminence and contributions to wider social science. She is a member of the REF2021 Sub-Panel for Law.