At the end of January, we were delighted to welcome to Goldsmiths Law our new Lecturer in Law, Dr Jinal Dadiya. In this Q & A, she introduces her pedagogic expertise and research specialism to us, and expresses her enthusiasm for joining our Department of Law.
Where did you work/study before joining Goldsmiths?
My doctoral research was at the University of Cambridge. I also have a graduate degree in law from the University of Oxford and an undergraduate degree from the National Law School in Bangalore, India.
Before starting the PhD, I was an attorney in the Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy team at a leading Indian law firm. I have also taught briefly at the University of Keele and at Cambridge.
What are your specialist areas in law?
My research relates to the fields of health law, reproductive justice, human rights law, and regulation theory. My doctoral thesis examined how assisted reproduction should be regulated for efficacious realisation of the human right to health. We live in a world where reproductive technologies such as IVF and egg/sperm freezing are ubiquitous, and by and large, considered ethically acceptable. Yet, they remain inaccessible to many. Access restrictions are along predictable grounds such as sexual orientation, marital status, race, citizenship, and financial status. Law and policy can create frameworks to enable access for underserved communities. My work looks for a conceptual foundation for legal reform within the international human right to the highest attainable standard of health. As one of very few human rights that place manageable ‘provision’ obligations on governments, it forms a great basis for recommending policy reform. As you’d imagine, my work on the right also has implications for other areas of health policy and provision.
I am also interested in law and literature analysis, and am working on a project comparing the treatment of heartbreak in law and in fiction. Contemporary scholars have been examining the place of emotions like love and trust in law. My project looks at celebrated instances of relationship breakdown which turned into courtroom battles, to develop an account of the value judges ascribe to the emotional and psychological experiences of romantic heartbreak. I compare this to how such incidences have been memorialised in fiction by writers of novels. The idea is to analyse the extent to which these accounts differ, and to explain why these differences matter.
What is your role in Goldsmiths’ Law programme?
This term, I will be convening Tort Law and also doing some teaching on the Criminal Law and Art Law Modules. I will also supervise some dissertations, and will be developing my own research projects, focusing particularly on the use of Heartbalm Torts in the early 20th century. Traditionally, in the common law, you could sue someone for breaking your heart unjustifiably. The success of your claim would depend on many factors, such as whether they seduced you or misled you in wrongful ways. For reasons good and bad, in most jurisdictions, you can’t sue for heartbreak anymore. My work examines the rise and fall of such tortious action.
What is your approach to teaching?
I believe that classrooms should be reflexive and responsive spaces. By this, I mean that instructors and students should listen to one another, and then introspect, to develop individual impressions and opinions. I find that this is an especially useful approach for understanding law in its lived context. To visualise the law within society, and to analyse it critically, are vital skills for all legal careers and my teaching strives to prepare students for this. I hope that interactive learning within my classroom develops students’ skills of legal articulation, as this is crucial to lawyering and legal application. I also emphasise the significance of legal accuracy. And so, my teaching focuses on legal building blocks, and encourages students to pay close attention to statutory language and case law.
What are your plans for the Tort Law module for the coming term?
During spring term, the Tort Law module will cover some traditional areas of tortious action including nuisance and trespass. Where possible, we will develop strategic positions to support and defend claims, as well as to mitigate tortious risks. While most of the module will be practice oriented, we will also look at the conceptual and philosophical foundations of the concept of harm in tort. Experiential learning activities will draw on contemporary issues such as liability for AI powered products and the UK government’s recent move to reform the law to curb SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).
Broadly, what are you looking forward to the most being at Goldsmiths?
The element of adventure that is central to the Goldsmiths Law experience is what excites me the most. The approach to learning is exploratory, be it within lectures, or during activities and field visits. Not only does this make learning fun, it makes the law come alive as a very real phenomenon. As an academic, and on a personal level, I find the law thrilling. I’m hoping that legal escapades at Goldsmiths will give me chance to share this enthusiasm.