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Experiences of equality lawyers in the EU and the UK

Research by Dr Sanna Elfving

Dr Sanna Elfving is currently working on a research project exploring the lived experiences of equality lawyers in the European Union and the United Kingdom. The work further develops Dr Elfving’s theoretical work, which culminated in the publication of a monograph titled Gender and the Court of Justice of the European Union together with Dr Jessica Guth (Reader, Leeds Beckett University) by Routledge in 2018.

The project focuses on the factors that shape legal thinking and decision making and equality lawyers’ approach to equality law issues. Dr Elfving interviewed lawyers (eg, barristers, solicitors, senior counsels, advocates, and judges) for this project between November 2019 and January 2020. Many of the interviewees have been involved in some high profile equality cases at national and European level, whereas others deal with all aspects of equality law, including work which does not culminate in litigation. 

The interviews focused on lawyers’ professional lives, their pathways into legal practice generally and to equality law in particular as well as how they see their role and their approach. The research project explores continuing barriers to equality as well as possible solutions, including how law and lawyers can help.  The research project aims to highlight and explain the role of lawyers in progress towards a more equal society.

The project has received funding from the University of Bradford Research Development Fund, and the Innovation Pump Priming Scheme.