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Shazia Choudhry (Oxford University, UK)

Shazia is Professor of Law and the Jeffrey Hackney Tutorial Fellow in Law at Wadham. She is also an Academic Bencher and Associate Academic Fellow at the Inner Temple.

Her research is focused on gender, human rights and violence against women and seeks to examine various dimensions of these areas from an interdisciplinary and feminist perspective. In doing so she employs doctrinal, theoretical and empirical methods. Her scholarship sits at the interface of criminal law, human rights law and family law.

She has published three books. Her monograph (with Herring) European Human Rights and Family Law (Hart, 2010) provides a theoretically informed and detailed analysis of the impact of the ECHR and the HRA on the substantive areas of family law. She is also editor with Herring and Wallbank of Rights, Gender and Family Law (Routledge-Cavendish 2009) a collection which explores the links between gender and rights and editor with Herring of The Cambridge Companion to Comparative Family Law (Cambridge University Press 2019) a collection which explores the key questions and themes that have faced family law across a number of key jurisdictions.

Her work within the field of violence against women and human rights is also evidenced by her advisory work and appointments. This has included her appointment as Specialist Adviser to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into Violence against Women (2014-15) and Specialist Adviser to the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (2019), as an expert evaluator for the European Commission, as an expert for the Council of Europe (including participating in the GREVIO monitoring mission to Serbia) and as an expert consultant for the UNFPA. She is also an expert advisor to Women’s Aid on research, policy and training. Her recent research on the issue of child contact and victims of domestic abuse has been drawn upon by members of the judiciary, members of Parliament, the Victims Commissioner and the Home Affairs (Parliamentary) Committee in its recent report on the proposed Domestic Abuse Bill 2018.

The Performativity of Human Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence in the Family Law System – the Continuance of the Public/Private Divide
Shazia Choudhry
Abstract: Janet Zignon has argued that the citation and repetition of human rights results in a performative iteration which brings into being and maintains the ‘truth’ of the global morality of human rights. In doing so, she notes the necessity of the state as the ‘constative guarantor,’ which provides human rights with actual and practical effect in the world. This analysis is particularly illuminating when applied to the relative success of the women’s human rights movement, in challenging the ‘public/private divide.’ However, the ‘truth’ of human rights within the nexus of family law, gender and domestic abuse has yet to materialise. The response of family justice systems towards victims of domestic abuse across the world epitomises a lack of understanding of the dynamics of domestic abuse and the utilisation of family law proceedings by perpetrators to continue abuse.  Most stark is the lack of reference to human rights law.  The private arena of family law has remained largely untroubled by advances in understanding concerning domestic abuse and the applicability of due diligence standards and positive obligations in this regard. The paper will provide a detailed overview of these issues with reference to an empirical research study conducted in England and Wales.