• Symposium Dates: 12 June (Wednesday) – 13 June (Thursday) 2024 Venue: Royal Holloway, University of London, London, UK
  • Mode: Hybrid (in-person & online)
  • Paper Submission: 31 May (Friday) 2024
  • NOTE: Limited travel allowance would be available for Doctoral students & ECRs from the UK/EU (Please include an expression of interest for travel support in your abstract submission).

The issue of diversity in the legal and judicial profession has long been a subject matter of contention since feminist scholarship has hypothesized that ‘women judges speak differently’. The scholarship on judiciary demonstrates that not only the ideological background of judges, but also their ethnicity impacts their judgments. In this context, this symposium aims to investigate the issue of diversity in the legal and judicial profession and growing debate on merit and exclusion of women and ethnic minorities. It takes Indian higher judiciary as a case study because it is ‘a typical case’ where the judges appoint themselves based on what is known as the Collegium system. This mechanism has made the Indian higher judiciary one of the most poorly represented and least diverse public institutions in India, particularly regarding caste, class, and gender background of the judges. While India has affirmative action policy to enhance diversity and representation in public institutions generally, one of the primary arguments to not have any kind of affirmative action in the higher judiciary has been of ‘merit’. The symposium also seeks to examine the construction of merit and exclusion in Indian judiciary and its cost on the democratic polity. We welcome a wide range of contributions based on the following broad themes (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Gender, Sexuality and Judging
  • Caste and Higher Judiciary
  • Race, Religion, Ethnicity and Legal Profession
  • Social and Cultural Capital in the Legal Profession
  • Judicial Independence and Executive Interference
  • Judicial Appointments and the Collegium System
  • Inequality, Judiciary and Reform
  • Politics of Merit, Affirmative Action, and Judicial Recruitment’s
  • Ideology in Judicial Decision-making and Autocratic Legalism
  • Lawyers & Judges in Visual and Popular Culture
  • Legal Education in the Era of Neoliberalism
  • Data and Datafication of Judiciary

Please send your 500-word abstract by 19 April (Friday) 2024 (with full name, profession, institutional affiliation, paper title) covering one or more of the mentioned themes to:

We encourage Doctoral students and Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to participate and submit research works from any disciplinary, methodological, and theoretical perspective within Social Sciences and Humanities.

Convenors: Dr. Shailesh Kumar (Lecturer in Law) & Arvind Kumar (Lecturer in Criminology and Sociology), Department of Law and Criminology, Royal Holloway, University of London.

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