Garden Court welcomed Rashida Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, to Chambers yesterday to discuss the experiences that practitioners have of dealing with victims of violence against women in the legal system.
The meeting was part of Ms Manjoo's first mission to the United Kingdom, during which she will study the central manifestations of violence against women. During her mission, Ms Manjoo will meet with individuals, civil society organisations and with government officials.
Garden Court barristers, joined by Frances Trevena of Rights of Women, shared their experiences of dealing with female victims of violence, as well as their relevant understanding of government accountability and the actions of the authorities.
FGM, sexual abuse in immigration detention, the treatment of female asylum seekers, transphobia in the justice system and the treatment of women who have been victims of violence in the family courts were central issues raised. The Modern Slavery Bill, the plight of migrant domestic workers and the treatment of women and girls within the criminal justice system were also issues that practitioners were keen to discuss.
Practioners conveyed to Ms Manjoo that for women who have been victims of gender-based violence or for those who are particularly vulnerable to it, the cuts to legal aid promise only to exacerbate their situation. Whether in the family courts, the prison system, the immigration tribunals or in actions fought alongside NGOs, access to justice for victims of violence against women will be harder to secure, but practitioners are more dedicated than ever to protecting it.
Briefings on each of the themes addressed in the meeting will be available shortly.
The meeting was organised by Rebekah Wilson, Liz Davies and Garden Court's Marketing Assistant, Amy Carrington. It was attended by the following Garden Court barristers: Kathryn Cronin, Elizabeth Woodcraft, Dexter Dias QC, Amina Ahmed, Michelle Brewer, Smita Shah, Paramjit Ahluwalia, Jo Cecil, Shu Shin Luh and Maria Moodie. They were joined by pupil barristers Grace Capel and Jennifer Blair.