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Eve Was Framed: Women and British Justice

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  369 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Eve Was Framed offers an impassioned, personal critique of the British legal system. Helena Kennedy focuses on the treatment of women in our courts - at the prejudices of judges, the misconceptions of jurors, the labyrinths of court procedures and the influence of the media. But the inequities she uncovers could apply equally to any disadvantaged group - to those whose ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 5th 2005 by Vintage (first published October 7th 1992)
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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 ·  369 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
Treating equally those who are unequal creates further inequality

Helena Kennedy is a barrister working in criminal law, and she sees in the current spate of miscarriages of justice coming to light an opportunity for radical reform in the courts except it's 1992. I need a sequel to this book! I should read her more recent work to see what happened next. She certainly creates a mood of drama and urgency here.

Kennedy more or less fell into the law and the training for the Bar could only have been
This book is so important. Not only does it tackle women's issues brilliantly, but it never fails to keep in mind that class and race are also major factors in women's discriminations. I'd highly, highly recommend it to everyone; especially (white) men.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at the way in which the legal system is institutionally sexist and the impact that has on the women who pass through it. Kennedy shares her own experience of coming up as one of the few female barristers and the ways in which archaic traditions are limiting the pipeline of female lawyers who could become tomorrow's judges - and thus the system is perpetuated.

More troubling is the impact this lack of representation has on the women who are either victims of crimes (particularly
Ella Chan
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
What is the gender of the partner most often beaten in a relationship? What is the gender of those most often sexually violated? When we hear a body has been found, someone killed in a park by a stranger, what sex is the victim? The gender nature of certain crimes and their victims and the gendered nature of so much law, because it is usually administered by men, is still insufficiently recognized or discussed. In this book, Kennedy illustrates the difficulty women encounter when trying to ...more
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually read non-fiction. I find it dull and boring, and only really read it out of necessity. But in this book I found a kind of compromise.

While it does tell you facts and figures and is detailed in its evidence, it also tells stories of the authors experience and narrates courtroom drama in a way that keeps you interested in what Kennedy is trying to tell you.

And on that subject, what she is trying to tell you is perfectly argued. This novel might be slightly out of date in its
Aug 14, 2018 rated it liked it

If I were to discuss the book purely based on its content, I'd reach the harsh conclusion that it could have been better. That's not to say the book is not worth reading since it contains its more than fair share of 'inside stories', analysis and theoretical accounts.

But I found myself reading some sentences twice due to the absurdity of some of Kennedy's allegations. It is not enough to say 'no'. Men hear a challenge to their masculinity in the sound. As a person who has read widely on

Kate K
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Helena Kennedys 1993 book Eve was Framed is to my knowledge not in print anymore, but its worth getting a copy second hand if you can.

The text looks at the experience of women in the British justice system, each chapter covering a specific topic including: the experience of female lawyers, rape and domestic violence, the impact of race on the experience of female defendants, and the law of manslaughter and how its applied to the different genders.

Kennedys book is 25-years-old yet still seems
Sarah Anne
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The symbol of justice may be a woman, but why should we settle for a symbol?"

Its a sobering fact that although Helena Kennedy's book was first published in 1992, every word is still relevant today. This is a concise, well crafted look at women and the justice system. Using her own experience and expertise, Kennedy reflects on how women often fail to find justice or fair treatment when it comes to the criminal law in the UK. This book is intersectional and touches upon race and sexuality.
Becky Henderson
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Incredibly clear-sighted analysis of the state of the British legal system in relation to women in the early 90s. Shocked at some of the arguments I read surrounding why rape in marriage shouldn't have been made a crime at that time - we should feel ashamed at how long it took us to change the law in this area.

Happy to see that many of Kennedy's suggestions for reform have been taken up, albeit a decade or 2 late. Would love to read an update from this woman on her current views of the system
Sarah Carter
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I actually didnt finish this book, even though i was really excited to read it. I felt like it was the same point that had been expanded and written into 400 pages. I feel it could have been condensed and made shorter. In the end I gave up it wasnt engaging and it was an effort to read. I loved the idea and concept and the issues around women and the law but could be shorter. ...more
Pandora Yadgaroff
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Helena Kennedy's work is empowering and fascinating, especially for those interested in the realities of the British legal system. Saddening and uplifting simultaneously...
Rachel Durnford
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My law student brain loved this. Incredibly thoughtful and insightful, absolutely on point throughout. Sometimes harrowing but always relevant.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 *s
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
In need of updating really, but still a well written insight into women's legal and criminological issues.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book shortly before accepting a job as a Legal Secretary. I think this fascinating book may have influenced my decision to apply for a legal job!
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A little dated now but still very relevant. Well written and argued.
Angus George
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Apart from a slight overdependence on statistics, this is fantastic: outraged and eloquent and clever. Essential reading.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is such a great and detailed account of the current English system and its prejudice towards women. Helena Kennedy QC has an acute lens when looking at legal issues and it is very inspiring to read her arguments. Recently, she appeared in the Reith Lecture when Jonathan Sumption is arguing that the judiciary is taking over the political matters. I think her writing is extremely persuasive and all the cases she gave in support of her views are from years of practicing in the profession. She ...more
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Are women equal to men? No better place than the legal system to evaluate that. This book fits the bill if you're looking for something different,thought provoking that challenges norms of society. It is an eye opener,as Helena evaluates the British legal system that ignores discrimination against women, minorities and opens it up for public scrutiny.However, It can be a bit heavy,dreary and hard to follow if you are not interested/ fairly informed of the law. It also lacks the zest to keep you ...more
Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very good book. Sometimes felt repetitive and not as logically ordered or separated as it could be, but nonetheless a very interesting and thought-provoking look at the treatment of women in the British courts. The case law really brought it alive too. Some parts are quite out of date - for example the changes mentioned to the defences to murder have now been enacted - but as the book was written in 1992 this in inevitable. A recommended read for any woman involved in the law (or aspiring to be ...more
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very insightful. Kennedy is a wonderful writer and really 'gets' the problems facing women especially with regards to rape and DV. She also suggests some good solutions to the problems of the Justice system being completely male oriented.
Carolyn Lochhead
Jan 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Fascinating, frightening and provocative look at how women are treated by the law. I frequently found myself pausing to have arguments in my head with imaginary lawyers and judges while reading this! Made me angry but also more educated.
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would love an updated version, post-Human Rights Act but this remains a thorough dissection of women's relationship with the court and probably mostly still all too accurate.
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
A really important book. Thorough and well written.
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Galvanising, energising, thought-provoking.
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was a brilliant, eviscerating exploration of the British Justice System as it relates to women and minorities. Exploring many facets of women's interaction with the law, it was able to articulate the many ways the justice system is inadequate for dealing with the reality of criminality and how it pertains to those who are not white, male, and middle class. Helena Kennedy is eloquent in her explanations of how and why the justice system should be improved in order to create a modern, ...more
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“we have equal legal rights to spend real time with our families, where there really is equal pay, where the pressures of the long-hours culture are removed, where pay in the caring professions was made so rewarding that it did not invariably fall to women to look after the elderly, the disabled or children in nurseries, nor that teaching in primary schools was a female role.” 0 likes
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