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The Summary Jurisdiction (Married Women) Act, 1895.
London: Shaw & Sons,, 1896. Octavo. Original green cloth, title to spine and front cover gilt. Spine a little darkened and rubbed at ends. An excellent, fresh copy. First edition of this landmark in British legislation for the rights of women, protecting married women against physical abuse and neglect, and allowing custody of children to deserted wives. Consolidating the 1878 Matrimonial Causes Act and the 1886 Married Women (Maintenance in the Case of Desertion) Act, it extended the power of magistrates in cases where husbands wilfully neglected to maintain their wives and families, providing "the basic grounds for maintenance and separation orders that were in force until the 1960 Act introduced modifications (Smart, p. 31). Prior to this, "the law tacitly assumed that when she married a woman lost some of the right to bodily autonomy she had enjoyed when single... A married woman remained obliged to cohabit with her abusive husband unless she could afford to pay for a judicial separation from the Divorce Court. This, combined with the provision of a Divorce Act that a wife but not a husband could be divorced for adultery alone, constituted virtually a proprietary right by husbands in their wives' bodies (Shanley, p. 176). Uncommon, with 12 copies located on OCLC (five located in both the UK and US respectively).
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2016-11-26           Check availability:      Biblio    


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