chapter  4
20 Pages

‘The Straw Woman’ at Law’s Precipice

An Unwilling Party
BySusan Edwards

This chapter makes a plea for the development of a coherent approach within the law with regard to gender-based violence and coercion in considering its impact on women's involvement and participation in crime. It considers the doctrinal incoherence in the conceptualisation of duress across the law, focusing particularly on the difference in the test and definition of duress as between criminal and family law. Edwards, writes that by 1951 the Court of Appeal had offered no authoritative definition of marital coercion, reflecting further the fact that it had probably been only occasionally considered by the lower courts. However, as the author argues that some wives, particularly wives from some non-Western cultures, continue to remain even more so under the patriarchal rule of the husband, for whom this defence may be especially important when charged with offences of participation.