LONDON: What More Can The Law Do For Women? - A Festival Celebrating International Women’s Day

Date: Saturday 04 March 2017

Time: 10am - 4.45pm

Location: Arundel House, 13-15 Arundel Street, London WC2R 3DX


Following on from the success of last year’s inaugural events, Doughty Street Chambers is pleased to host “What More Can the Law Do For Women?”, our second annual festival in celebration of International Women’s Day.  The festival invites lawyers, judges, NGOs and others from civil society to pool their shared experience and knowledge to try and find constructive, practical ways in which the law can be used to support women and address gender imbalance.  It will be held over two days, with a session running in London on Saturday 4 March and another in Manchester on Saturday 11 March.  The details for London appear below, but you can find details of the Manchester programme by clicking here.    


We will be surveying delegates before the events to canvass their views on how woman are impacted by the law, and results from that will be fed into our discussions.  The product of the discussions will be captured on a Chatham House basis, and distilled into a report which will be made available shortly after the conference ends.  We will also be tweeting from the conference and you can join the conversation by using the hashtag #DoughtyStWomen.


We hope you can join us for what we are sure will be stimulating discussions.




Saturday 4 March – 10:00 am – 4:45 pm

Arundel House, 13-15 Arundel Street, London, WC2R 3DX

(Nearest tube: Temple)


Doughty Street Chambers hosts a day of talks looking at how women are impacted by the law and what the law can do to support and further women’s rights and interests.  We hope the day will identify areas for future law reform, and will inspire and inform delegates on campaigns we can mount to ensure the law better supports women.


Tea, coffee and lunch will be provided.  You are welcome to stay all day, or just attend the morning or afternoon session.


Before the event we will be sending you a short survey to canvass your views on how women are impacted by the law, and results from that will feed in to our discussions on the day.  We will also ask you for thoughts or particular issues you would like to see addressed by our speakers.  During the day itself, each session is intended to be a discussion, led by our panellists, but very much inviting your views from the floor.  We will be capturing this information to be distilled in to a report which we will circulate to delegates after the event as a record of the day and to identify practical action points to take forward.  


The talks will include:


From 9:30 am - Registration 


10:00 am - Welcome 

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC (Doughty Street Chambers)


10:15 am - Violence Against Women and Girls

Chair: Keina Yoshida (Doughty Street Chambers)

Dr Helen Durham AO (Director of International Law and Policy at the International Committee of the Red Cross)

Pragna Patel (Southall Black Sisters)

Lisa Gormley (London School of Economics)


2017 marks the 25th anniversary of UN CEDAW's General Recommendation 19 on violence against women.  Since that time, international standards on violence against women and girls have markedly improved. Despite this, violence against women and girls, in its many manifestations, remains prevalent both domestically and internationally. The UK has more to do in this area, particularly by ratifying and implementing the Istanbul Convention.  This expert panel considers some of the means through which we combat VAWG and highlights the on-going challenges faced by lawyers, advocates and those on the ground to protect, prevent, respect and fulfil women's rights to live without violence. 


11:15 am - Coffee


11:30 am - Women and Prisons

Chair: Aswini Weereratne QC (Doughty Street Chambers)

Jane Ryan (Solicitor, Bhatt Murphy)

Frances Crook (Howard League for Penal Reform)

Ulele Burnham (Doughty Street Chambers)


In March 2007 Baroness Corston’s review of vulnerable women in the criminal justice system was published, calling for a radically different, woman-centred approach, and scrapping large prisons which act as social dustbins for vulnerable women. A decade on, little has changed.  Indeed, many aspects of the system have worsened – the closure of HMP Holloway will result in London women being placed further away from their children and support networks.  Transgender women are placed in male prisons, and there have been three apparently self-inflicted deaths of trans prisoners in the past year.  This expert panel will consider the urgent need for change and what can and should be done. 


12:30pm - Women's Rights in the US: A view from across the water in the age of Trump

Linda Moreno, renowned American criminal and human rights attorney, and an Associate Tenant at Doughty Street Chambers, will give her perspective on how women's rights are being impacted by a new Presidential administration. She will also discuss how federal and state prison systems treat women, with reference to current cases,  



12.40pm - 1.30pm -Lunch and networking


1:30pm - Reproductive Rights

Chair: Angela Jackman (Partner, Simpson Millar)

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC (Doughty Street Chambers)

Merry Varney (Partner, Leigh Day)

Dilys Cossey OBE (Abortion rights and reproductive health campaigner)


Our expert panel will consider questions of autonomy and reproductive rights.  2017 is the 50th anniversary of the ground-breaking Abortion Act 1967, and we will discuss its importance, the campaign to decriminalise abortion, and the need for change in Northern Ireland.  We will also consider important developments in fertility and reproductive rights, including three parent birth certificates, access to IVF services and surrogacy.


2:30pm - Fair Play: Gender, Sport and the Law

Chair: Heather Williams QC (Doughty Street Chambers)

Eniola Aluko (Chelsea FC and England footballer)

Kendrah Potts (Director, Mishcon de Reya)

Sophie Cook (TV presenter, sports photographer and campaigner)


Recent years have seen huge strides in the way that women’s sport is perceived, funded and represented.  From the Lionesses’ record 3rd place finish in the 2015 World Cup to the incredible medal haul from the Rio Olympics, women’s sport is flourishing.  So too is the visibility of women in other areas of sporting life: from pundits to referees to lawyers, the sight of a woman in what was always a ‘man’s world’ is becoming less and less remarkable.  Yet, compared with their male counterparts, women continue to be underfunded, underexposed, and, still, under far more scrutiny.  We’re delighted to have such an illustrious panel of speakers to discuss what more the law can do to help women secure a level playing field.


3:30pm - Tea


3:45pm - Women’s Voices: Getting Heard 

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC (Doughty Street Chambers)

Fatima Manji (News correspondent, Channel 4 News)

Sara Ryan (#JusticeforLB campaign)

Gill Phillips (Director of Editorial Legal Services, The Guardian)

Cris McCurley (Partner, Ben Hoare Bell LLP)


In 2016, attempts to silence women moved from Twitter to the floor of the House of Representatives.  As women take to the streets in their masses to loudly call out misogyny, it’s time to change the conversation.  We bring together some brilliant, vocal women – heroes of campaigns, the legal world and broadcasting - to speak about their experiences and to start a conversation about how best to ensure women are heard with authority.   


4:30pm - Close

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC will round up some of the themes which arise during the conference, and will invite delegates to make their pledges as to how they plan to use the law to better support the women whose interests they represent. 



To reserve a place at the London event please RSVP here. This event is open to all, however, due to space limitations we ask that students book via our Marketing team by emailing or call a member of our events team on 020 7404 1313. 


Details of the Manchester programme running on Saturday 11 March can be found by clicking here.





« Back to listing

About cookies on our website

Following a revised EU directive on website cookies, each company based, or doing business, in the EU is required to notify users about the cookies used on their website.

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience of certain areas of the site and to allow the use of specific functionality like social media page sharing. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but as a result parts of the site may not work as intended.

To find out more about what cookies are, which cookies we use on this website and how to delete and block cookies, please see our Which cookies we use page.

Click on the button below to accept the use of cookies on this website (this will prevent the dialogue box from appearing on future visits)