The Law of Care

The U.S. experience of the covid-19 pandemic has witnessed over 2 million women leaving the paid workforce and threatening the hard-won gains from the late 20th century. Women are disproportionately employed in industries facing job losses, many of which involve care or face to face interaction. They have also been more likely to leave the workplace due to increased care obligations during shutdowns. The pandemic has revealed the underlying fragility of the U.S. privatized model of care and the continued gendered stratification of the work force. New federal legislative efforts have aimed ambitiously to remedy this crisis of care by focusing on “care” as a form of social infrastructure. This discussion draws on the current political moment to develop a vision of the “law of care” that pushes beyond the limitations of a “family law” framing and brings into the conceptual fold diverse and unattended ways in which “care” shapes social and legal experience and produces inequality.

Construing Sex Discrimination Prohibitions in India and Hong Kong

Conventional wisdom is that countries in the developed West lead in establishing rights related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE). This view suggests SOGIE rights begin in the West and then are exported and adopted by the rest of the world. Our presentation challenges this narrative by examining cutting-edge judicial opinions from India’s Supreme Court and Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal. Specifically, this paper discusses ways these Asian courts have surpassed apex courts in the West by interpreting sex discrimination bans capaciously to protect against discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. While the judicial opinions from India and Hong Kong are by no means perfect, they were groundbreaking. We use these cases as a springboard for discussing the importance of recognizing that Asia does not merely emulate SOGIE rights protections from the West; instead, parts of Asia are at the forefront of change.

Canada’s Family Justice Reform

This paper will examine the 2021 reform of Canada’s Divorce Act, which applies in all cases involving the legal dissolution of a marriage. It explores whether and to what extent these statutory revisions promise to enhance justice outcomes, particularly for socially and economically vulnerable families, and where gaps will persist. The analysis focuses on the four objectives underpinning this law reform project – promotion of the best interests of the child, addressing family violence, reduction of child poverty, and improved accessibility to the family justice system – drawing on child-centric, feminist, and intersectional theoretical approaches.

Family Law as Public Law in a Marriage-free State

What will the law of family be like in a marriage-free state? This question is composed of a proposition that the state should not endorse marriage and an inquiry into how the state should regulate the family. Scholarship that challenges marital supremacy and advocates nonmarital equality includes various proposals to move forward. This paper engages with the abolishment thesis and considers its implications for family law. Part I deals with the theoretical proposition that a just state should be a marriage-free state. Part II considers the future of family law in a marriage-free state. It argues that ‘marital family law” as private law fails to secure equality for all, and that the reconceptualization of family law as public law bears the potential of promoting equality and preventing discrimination based on relationship status. Part III advances the reimagination of family law as public law through an empirical examination of the realities of the marriage contracts in Taiwan.

Women’s Access to Justice in Japan – Findings from Civil Litigation User Survey

My paper examines the findings of the Civil Litigation User Survey (CLUS) from gender perspective. The CLUS was conducted three times since 2006, targeting users of civil proceedings in the district courts in Japan. I analyzed the data of the three surveys from a gender perspective. Major findings are: (1) There are significant gender differences in the attributes of the respondents, reflecting the gender gap in Japanese society in general; (2) In pre-litigation behavior, many women consulted attorneys in Japan Judicial Support Center, indicating that women have been facilitated access to justice through the public resources; and (3) Women gave more negative evaluations in 2016 survey to the judicial system and the legal system in general, even though there was no gender difference in their evaluations and satisfaction with their own experience in the proceedings. I discuss the masculinity of the Japanese judiciary as a possible factor creating a sense of marginalization for women.