Equality law expert lectures in city

With abuse of power and sexual mores high on the news agenda, equality law expert and University of Worcester Law School guest speaker Karon Monaghan QC, speaking at The Hive on Tuesday, had no trouble picking her subject – Patriarchy, Power and the Law.

Her overview of the history of quality made for fascinating listening, though jaws dropped more than once as she reminded her audience that rape within marriage was not criminalised until 1992 and that, until 2003, a man facing a rape charge could use as a defence the fact that he believed his victim had consented, however unreasonable that belief was.

A unashamed fan of Baroness Hale, president of the Supreme Court, who visited Worcester last year to receive her honorary doctorate, Karon Monaghan also cited two female MPs, who she credited with pushing equality law forward – Barbara Castle, with the Equal Pay Act and the Sex Discrimination Act, and Harriet Harman, with the Equality Act 2010.

She advocated greater female representation in both Parliament and the senior judiciary and gave examples of female judges’ input to judgments adding a different and welcome dimension to the considerations included.

Jonathan Brew, Senior Partner

A lively question and answer session followed her lecture and senior partner Jonathan Brew said: “This was a great opportunity not only for law students and lawyers, but also for the wider community, to hear a real expert in her field. She was both engaging and thought-provoking.”