Milestone Lecture 2019 by Dr Rachel Clement Tolley, Fellow in Law
|Date & time|
|Location||Trinity Hall Lecture Theatre|
|Booking closing date||Monday, 4 November 12:00pm|
|Event type||Lecture followed by tea and coffee|
‘Criminal Law, Battery and Bodily Harm: Reforming the Criminal Law for users of Mobility Aids’ by Dr Rachel Clement Tolley, Fellow in Law
Dr Rachel Clement Tolley: Before joining Trinity Hall, Rachel was a member of Wadham College, Oxford, where she completed her BA (Jurisprudence), and BCL. She recently submitted her DPhil thesis, entitled Deception, Mistake, Privacy and Consent: A Conceptual Framework for Resolving the ‘Line-drawing’ Problem in Sex-by-Deception and Mistaken Sex. Whilst at Wadham, Rachel was one of three graduate students to co-found and organise the Herbert Smith Freehills Oxford Disability Mooting Championship in 2014. This major event in the Oxford mooting calendar was established to promote discussion of disability and how it intersects with domestic and international law; an issue to which Rachel remains committed here in Cambridge.
Rachel’s main area of research concerns the effect of deception and mistake on the validity of consent to sexual activity in English criminal law. Rachel also maintains research interests in the non-fatal offences against the person. She is currently working on a paper which considers how the law should conceptualise damage to prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Rachel teaches criminal law and tort law for the Hall, and is honoured to hold a fellowship in the name of John Collier.
Despite the voluminous critical literature on the non-fatal, non-sexual offences against the person, including the 2015 Law Commission reform proposals, the application of these offences to the bodies of users of mobility aids has been overlooked. If D deliberately strikes V’s prosthetic leg and breaks it, and D intends to damage only the prosthetic leg, D is not liable for any serious offence against the person. Whilst the law of battery does extend to unlawful contact with a person’s mobility aid, and so would capture this scenario, the law as it currently stands fails to characterise accurately both the severity of the harm sustained by V and the nature and gravity of the wrong committed by D. Drawing on phenomenology, medical and psychological research, and critical disability studies, I argue that we must reject a definition of the ‘body’ that is constrained by traditionally understood ‘biological’ boundaries. Only by reimagining the body in this way can the criminal law appropriately recognise, respect and protect all bodies, including those of people with disabilities.
100 years of women in law
The topic of this year’s lecture coincides with the centenary of the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, when women were finally allowed to practise law. To mark this milestone, the University has established an exciting new social network of alumnae, Cambridge Women in Law (CWIL), which will feature a diverse range of women from all sectors. CWIL was officially launched on 27 September 2019. Find out more
The Milestone Lecture is free to attend and open to all – online booking is now open, click here. You are welcome to bring up to three guests with you and bookings will be taken on a first come-first served basis until we reach capacity.
After the lecture, you are invited for tea and coffee in the Graham Storey Room. There is no charge.
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