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Barrister Gender and Litigant Success on the High Court of Australia


  • Vinod Mishra
  • Russell Smyth


We examine the relationship between gender of the barrister and appeal outcomes on the High Court of Australia. We find evidence of asymmetries in that gender matters if a female barrister presents oral argument for the appellant opposed to a respondent, for which one or more male barristers present oral argument, but the reverse is not true. Specifically, we find that an appellant represented in oral argument by a female barrister, opposed to a respondent represented in oral argument by a male barrister, is less likely to receive the vote of a justice in the majority. However, we also find that the appellant disadvantage of having a female barrister present oral argument is (partially) offset in the case of liberal justices and on panels having a higher proportion of female justices. The extent to which the disadvantage is offset and potentially turns from being a disadvantage to an advantage depends on the degree towhich the judge is liberal and the proportion of female justices on the panel.

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  • Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2013. "Barrister Gender and Litigant Success on the High Court of Australia," Monash Economics Working Papers 15-13, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2013-15

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