This paper traces recent developments in the criminalization of spousal violence in the UK and in Israel, and addresses a new controversy regarding the meaning and the wrongfulness of such violence. The paper shows how intimate-partner violence has, in recent years, come to be acknowledged as a unique type of crime – a form of abuse, which goes beyond physical violence to include psychological and economic abuse. While contemporary accounts conceptualize, and consequently justify, offenses of spousal abuse relying on an abuse-of-trust theory, or on a “liberty crime” framework, this paper draws on the sociology and history of spousal relationships as patriarchal authority relations, to critically assess the new style of criminalizing spousal abuse. I argue that through acknowledging the shadows (or ghosts) of historical patriarchal authority, the new abuse offenses might risk its lingering presence in spousal relationships, rather than its disappearance.
We look forward to welcoming you on July 3-5, 2023 for our Annual Conference entitled "Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World." The conference will take place at the Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand. We will be announcing more details about the conference soon, including financial support to early career and global south scholars!