Investigating legal capacity and mental capacity in everyday life
The right to equal recognition of all persons before the law is a long-standing legal principle. People with intellectual disabilities (including people with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, acquired brain injuries, and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia) have, in the past, been routinely denied their rights to equal treatment before the law. Many countries still have laws that limit the rights of people with intellectual disabilities to make their own decisions, on the basis of perceived limitations in their ‘mental’ capacity.
An international consensus is emerging that supported decision-making processes that prioritise what people with disabilities want should be used instead. Using qualitative research methods, this research projects that are reported on this website interrogate how socio-legal understandings of ‘legal’ and ‘mental’ capacity interact in the everyday lives of people with intellectual disabilities, in order to generate new approaches to better support their everyday legally-relevant decision making. The research is focused on how supported decision-making could be better regulated, and implemented, to improve the lives of disabled people.
You can find out more about the research including reports about our research findings, on this website. You can find out about the research team, Professor Rosie Harding and Dr Ezgi Tascioglu, and read our blog posts about capacity in law and society. We sometimes host guest blogs, if you’d like to contribute, please contact us.
The original Everyday Decisions research project was funded by the British Academy and has ethical approval from the University of Birmingham Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.
The supported will-making follow up study was funded by the University of Birmingham ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, and has ethical approval from the University of Birmingham Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.
Since September 2018, ongoing work relating to the Everyday Decisions project and the supported will-making follow-up study has been funded by a Philip Leverhulme Prize from the Leverhulme Trust.