New paper proposes framework for criminalising deceptive sex

New paper proposes framework for criminalising deceptive sex

Dr Chloë Kennedy

An Edinburgh academic has proposed a novel framework for establishing when deceptive sex should be considered to have crossed the threshold of criminality.

In a new paper, Dr Chloë Kennedy of Edinburgh Law School proposes the use of an “identity nonrecognition” framework, centring the role that sex and relationships play for many people in constructing their identity and sense of self.

The paper, published in Legal Studies, the journal of the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS), explores how this framework could be applied to bring clarity to cases of deceptive sex involving HIV status, undercover police officers or so-called “gender fraud”.

Part of a larger, AHRC-funded project that focuses on deception and intimacy, the paper seeks to contribute to debates about the criminalisation of deceptive sex in Scotland, England and Wales and further afield, drawing on examples within these jurisdictions and beyond.

Dr Kennedy told Scottish Legal News: “In writing this paper, I’ve tried to show that questions about how we should respond to deceptive sex, through law, are not easily answered.

“They are deeply social and political questions that require us to think carefully about what we value about sex, and intimacy more generally, and who might be subject to state coercion and censure when this sort of conduct is criminalised.”

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