John Stuart Mill on matrimonial property and divorce law reform

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Victorian England is often seen as an era of stability for marital and family life. In reality, it was a period of significant legal and social change that opened the way for the introduction of the modern family court system. It was a time and place where women had very few legal rights in regards to divorce and matrimonial property. John Stuart Mill was a key proponent for the advancement of women’s rights in the Victorian period. The article argues that Mill was an advocate for equal opportunity for women based on ideals of liberty, but this was based on a gender complementarian division of roles within the family. The article focuses on Mill’s major work on women’s rights, The Subjection of Women. Mill presented a radical piece of writing based on principles of equality as a source of moral progress amidst the reactionary politics of Victorian England.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-57
Number of pages23
JournalFundamina : A Journal of Legal History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • John Stuart Mill
  • Victorian England
  • divorce law
  • marriage law
  • Married Women's Property Act
  • law reform

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