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100 Years of the Infanticide Act: Legacy, Impact and Future Directions

Edited by: Karen Brennan, Emma Milne

ISBN13: 9781509961641
Published: October 2023
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £95.00

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This book provides the first comprehensive and detailed analysis of the Infanticide Act and its impact in England and Wales and around the world.

It is 100 years since the Infanticide Act was passed in England and Wales. The statute, re-enacted in 1938, provides mitigation to women who kill their infants within the first year of life. This legislation is unique and controversial: it creates a specific offence and defence that is available only to women who kill their biological infants. Men and other carers are not able to avail of the special mitigation provided by the Act, nor are women who kill older children.

The collection brings together leading experts in the field to offer important insights into the history of the law, its working today, the impact and legacy of the statute, and potential futures of the infanticide laws. It considers the impact of the Act in practice in England and Wales, including the way it has been portrayed in the British media and how it has become a means to provide justice for women against the hardships and harms of pregnancy and motherhood.

It looks at the adoption of the Act in other jurisdictions including Canada, Australia and New Zealand and considers the way infant death has been dealt with in Ireland, Sweden, the US and Brazil.

Criminal Law, Criminology, Legal History
100 Years of the Infanticide Act: The Law in Context
Karen Brennan (University of Essex UK) and Emma Milne (Durham University, UK)

Part One: The Infanticide Act in Practice
2. Manslaughter, Concealment of Birth and Infanticide, 1900-37
Rachel Dixon (University of Hull, UK) and Tony Ward (Northumbria University, UK)
3. Infanticide: Many Forms, Many Causes, Several Jurisprudential Solutions
Ian Brockington (University of Birmingham, UK)
4. Infanticide and Diminished Responsibility – Reviewing the Relationship
Ronnie Mackay (De Montfort University, UK)

Part Two: Understandings, Misunderstanding and Questions of Principle
5. 'Sometimes the Worst Happens': Representing Infanticide and the Law in British Media Since 1922
Daniel JR Grey (University of Hertfordshire, UK)
6. Myths and Moral Agency: A Principled Approach to Infanticide Law
Helen Howard (Teesside University, UK)
7. The Infanticide Act 1938 as a Means to Provide Justice for Women against the Hardships and Harms of Pregnancy and Motherhood?
Emma Milne (Durham University, UK) and Karen Brennan (University of Essex, UK)

Part Three: Adoptions of the English and Welsh Infanticide Act
8. Substantive Equality Preserved in Canadian Infanticide Law
Kirsten Kramar (Mount Royal University, Canada)
9. Exporting Infanticide: Australian Criminal Laws on Infanticide
Arlie Loughnan (University of Sydney, Australia)
10. A 10 year old Infant? A Male Mother? Infanti-GBH? The Development and Use of Infanticide in New Zealand and Australian Criminal Law
Debra Wilson (University of Canterbury, UK)

Part Four: Criminal Justice Responses Beyond the Infanticide Act
11. Infant Murder and the Death Penalty in Independent Ireland
Lynsey Black and David M Doyle (both of Maynooth University, Ireland)
12. Infanticide in Sweden: from Condemnation to (too much?) Consideration
Maria Kaspersson (University of Greenwich, UK)
13. A Crazy Quilt: Infanticide in the United States
Susan Ayres (Texas A&M University, USA)
14. Moralities at Stake in the Trial of Women Accused of Murder or Attempted Murder of Newborns in Brazil
Bruna Angotti (Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, Brazil)