Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Law, Harm and Redress: A Feminist Perspective

Conaghan, Joanne (2002) Law, Harm and Redress: A Feminist Perspective. Legal Studies, 22 (3). pp. 319-339. ISSN 0261-3875. (doi:10.1111/j.1748-121X.2002.tb00196.x) (KAR id:1742)


This paper explores understandings of harm in law through the application of a feminist perspective. Drawing on the idea of harm as a social construct, the paper considers the role of law in shaping perceptions of when a harm has occurred and whether it should be redressed. These themes are illustrated by means of a close legal and contextual analysis of the House of Lords decision in Waters v Metropolitan Police Commissioner,1 in which a woman was allegedly bullied at work for reporting she had been raped by a fellow officer. The paper raises questions about why this particular claimant had difficulty establishing that she had suffered harm, despite alleging 89 separate hostile acts by fellow officers, and even though the courts who heard her claim assumed for the purposes of legal argument that the facts alleged were true. It is argued that the narrowness of the approach adopted by most of the judges who heard Ms Waters' claim precluded recognition of the seriousness of the allegations and the social, political, and legal need to provide redress.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/j.1748-121X.2002.tb00196.x
Additional information: The definitive version is available at
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Depositing User: A. Davies
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 19:11 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 09:40 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Conaghan, Joanne.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.