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Research and advocacy

The Edinburgh Foundation for Women in Law seeks to be a catalyst for change within the legal profession. 

Law School Report

EFWiL supports a number of research initiatives focused on gender equality and women's advancement in the legal profession, collaborating with student societies, academic institutions, and industry experts. We also publish reports, articles, and thought leadership pieces based on research findings to raise awareness, drive conversations, and advocate for policy changes that promote gender equality. 

Victims, Witnesses and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill: Key Issues and Conclusions

In April 2023, the Scottish government introduced the Victims, Witnesses and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament. One of the main policy proposals in the new legislation (contained in clauses 65 and 66) is to carry out a time-limited pilot of juryless rape trials, conducted by a single judge. The aims of the pilot are to evaluate how this process is perceived by those involved in the trial, to understand its influence on the effec- tiveness of rape trial management and to consider its effects on outcomes, including the low conviction rate for sexual offences in Scotland.

On 26th October 2023, the Edinburgh Foundation for Women in Law at Edinburgh Law School held a policy roundtable where legal practitioners, academics, and representatives of victim support groups in Scotland to discuss the pilot and developed a policy note that draws out key themes and issues raised by the various perspectives included in the roundtable discussion.

Read the full briefing note

Living and working in the time of COVID-19: What have we learnt and where to next?

Gender (and other) inequality has been a persistent issue across the legal industry - and then the pandemic hit. Various reports have pointed to the regressive effects of Covid-19 and the reversal of important gains made for women in the workplace. A recent survey of 400 working women has indicated that ‘…nearly seven out of 10 women who experienced negative shifts in their routine as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic believe their career progression will slow down. 

The pandemic has certainly brought many challenges, including job losses, being furloughed, and caring responsibilities including, for some, juggling working from home with childcare and home-schooling. On the other hand, the pandemic has also, for many in the sector, resulted in significantly increased levels of home working and, for some, flexible work patterns. 

On the 22 April 2021, the Edinburgh Foundation for Women in Law at Edinburgh Law School held a virtual listening event where 29 women from across the legal profession shared their experiences of working and living during the COVID-19 pandemic.

View the full briefing document: Living and working in the time of COVID-19: What have we learnt and where to next?

Case Critiques 2021/22

The Edinburgh Foundation for Women in Law was pleased to support the Edinburgh University Women in Law Society for their "Case Critiques 2021/22" research project. 

Inspired by the Scottish Feminist Judgments Project, the Edinburgh University Women in Law Society launched a research project, Case Critiques, to provoke discussions on the intersectionality of criminal law outside the classroom. The prompt of the project was to choose a specific case within criminal law and evaluate how the relevant judgment may have changed in this day and age, considering shifts in societal contexts. It included students from a wide range of intersectional backgrounds - ranging from their academic discipline to gender, race and economic status. 

View the full research report: Case Critiques 2021/22