Professor Rosie Harding

Professor Rosie Harding

Birmingham Law School
Professor of Law and Society

Contact details

+44 (0) 121 414 4960
+44 (0) 121 414 3585
Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Rosie Harding's research explores the place of law in everyday life. Her primary interests are in family law, particularly the regulation and recognition of caring and intimate relationships. She uses social science methods including both qualitative and quantitative approaches to empirical research to investigate the place of law in everyday life, including everyday understandings of law and legal discourse. Her work is grounded in feminist legal theory and gender, sexuality and law, and has been supported by research grants from the AHRC, ESRC and the British Academy. Her current research is focused on mental capacity, care, and dementia. She is working on a monograph, Duties to Care: Dementia, Relationality and Law (forthcoming, 2016, Cambridge University Press) Her broader research interests are in the gender, sexuality and law field, and also include human rights, discrimination and equality, and socio-legal research methodology. Her first book, Regulating Sexuality, won the 2011 Hart-SLSA Book Prize and Early Career Prize.


  • LLB (Hons) University of Edinburgh
  • LLM Keele University
  • PhD University of Kent
  • PgC Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Keele
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Professor Harding completed her LLB at the University of Edinburgh, her LLM at Keele and her PhD at the University of Kent. Prior to joining Birmingham Law School in 2012, she taught at Keele Law School from 2004-2012. 


  • Legal Skills and Methods
  • LM Socio-Legal Theory
  • LM Socio-Legal Method

Postgraduate supervision

Professor Harding is happy to supervise postgraduate research students in any of the following areas:

  • Mental Capacity law, especially research involving questions of everyday decision-making, dementia, intellectual disability, powers of attorney, advance directives and end of life decision making.
  • Gender, sexuality and law, particularly issues to do with care, family law, discrimination and equality.

She is especially interested in supervising research involving empirical socio-legal methods. Potential research students are welcome to contact her by email to discuss their research proposals prior to submitting an official application. 

Current Postgraduate Students:

  • Charlotte Bendall 'Gender in Intimate Relationships: A Socio-Legal Study'
  • Zainab Naqvi 'Big Love or Big Problem? Feminist perspectives on the legal recognition of polygamy in English law'
  • Jaime Lindsey ‘A Critical Analysis of Mental Capacity in English Law: Autonomy, sexual activity and supported decision-making’
  • Maeve O’Rourke ‘Is a Convention on the Rights of Older People Necessary’
  • Ellen Gordon-Bouvier (part time) 'Trusts of the Family Home'
  • Sarah Singh (part time) 'Socio-Legal Regulation of Motherhood'


Professor Harding’s main research interests are in how law operates in everyday life. She is interested in how people experience legal frameworks and how they make decisions about whether or not to use law. Her research to date has focused on the recognition and regulation of intimate and caring relationships. Her work straddles areas of equality law, family law, healthcare law, human rights and jurisprudence.

Rosie's current research project seeks to understand how carers of people with dementia experience the regulatory frameworks surrounding accessing help with and financial assistance for care, and the sources of formal and informal support utilised by carers of people with dementia, through topics including recent changes to powers of attorney, and the personalisation of care budgets. For more information see the Dementia Project website ( This empirical work forms the basis of her current monograph project Duties to Care: Dementia, Relationality and Law (under contract with Cambridge University Press).

She was principal investigator of the AHRC Research Network ‘ReValuing Care: Perspectives from Gender, Sexuality and Law’ (, a partnership with the Universities of Adelaide, Keele and Queen Mary University of London, and is currently working on an edited collection of academic essays drawn from the network events with Dr Ruth Fletcher (QMUL) and Professor Chris Beasley (University of Adelaide).

Other activities

  • Vice Chair, SLSA Executive Committee
  • Fellow of the ESRC Peer-Review College
  • Co-Director, ReValuing Care Network




  • Harding, R. (forthcoming, 2016) Duties to Care: Dementia, Relationality and Law (Cambridge University Press).
  • Harding, R. (2011) Regulating Sexuality: Legal consciousness in lesbian and gay lives Routledge: London, pp 208. ISBN: 978-0-415-57438-9. Winner of the Hart-SLSA Socio-Legal Book Prize 2011, and the Hart-SLSA Early Career Prize 2011.

Edited works

  • Harding, R., Fletcher, R. and Beasley, C. (eds) (forthcoming, 2016/17) ReValuing Care in Theory, Law and Policy: Cycles and connections (Routledge Social Justice).
  • Harding, R. (ed) (2016) Law & Sexuality (Critical Concepts in Law, Routledge Major Works).
  • Peel E., & Harding R. (2016) Ageing & Sexualities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Ashgate).
  • Peel E. & Harding R. (eds) (2008) ‘Regulating Sexuality: Contemporary perspectives on lesbian and gay relationship recognition’ Special Issue of Sexualities 11(6).

Journal Articles

  • Harding, R. (2015) ‘Statutory Wills and the Limits of Best Interests Decision-Making’ Modern Law Review 78(6): 945-970.
  • Peel E. & Harding, R. (2015) ‘A Right to ‘Dying Well’ with Dementia? Capacity, ‘choice’ and relationality’ Feminism & Psychology 25(1):  137-142.
  • Peel, E. & Harding, R. (2014) “It’s a huge maze, the system, it’s a terrible maze”: Dementia carers’ constructions of navigating health and social care services. Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice 13(5): 642-661.  
  • Harding, R. & Peel, E. (2013) “He was like a zombie”: Off-label Prescription of Antipsychotic Drugs in Dementia Medical Law Review 21: 243-277.
  • Harding, R. (2012) ‘Legal Constructions of Dementia: Discourses of autonomy at the margins of capacity’ Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 34(4): 425-442.
  • Harding, R.(2010) ‘Imagining a Different World: Reconsidering the Regulation of Family Lives.’ Law and Literature 22(3): 440-462.
  • Harding, R. (2007) 'Sir Mark Potter and the protection of the traditional family: Why same-sex marriage is (still) a feminist issue' Feminist Legal Studies, vol. 15(2), 223-234.
  • Harding R and Peel E. (2007) ‘Surveying sexualities: Internet research with non-heterosexuals’ Feminism & Psychology, vol. 17(2), 277-285.
  • Harding, R. (2007) ‘The promise of rights and the reality of law: implications of the decision in Wilkinson v Kitzinger’ Lesbian and Gay Psychology Review, vol. 8(1), 15-20.
  • Harding, R.(2006) ‘Dogs are ‘registered’, people shouldn’t be’: Legal consciousness and lesbian and gay rights.Social & Legal Studies 15(4): 511-533.
  • Harding, R. and Peel, E. (2006) ‘“We Do”? International perspectives on equality, legality and same sex relationships’ Lesbian and Gay Psychology Review, vol. 7(2), 123-140.
  • Harding, R. (2005) ‘Psychology, human rights and law: the case of planned lesbian families’ Lesbian and Gay Psychology Review, vol. 6(1), 23-34. 
  • Peel, E. and Harding, R. (2004) ‘Civil partnerships’ Feminism & Psychology, vol. 14(1), 41-46.
  • Peel, E. and Harding, R. (2004) ‘Divorcing rights, romance and radicalism: beyond pro and anti in the lesbian and gay marriage debate’ Feminism & Psychology, vol. 14(4), 588-599.

Chapters in Books

  • Harding, R. (2016) ‘Law and Sexuality: Introduction’ in Harding, R. (ed) (2016) Law & Sexuality (Critical Concepts in Law, Routledge Major Works).
  • Harding, R. (2015) ‘Playing ‘House of Lords Bingo’: A critical discourse analysis of debates on civil partnership and same sex marriage’ in J. Miles, R. Probert & P. Mody (eds) Marriage Rights and Rites pp. 229-252 Oxford: Hart.
  • Harding, R. (2015) ‘(Re)Inscribing the Heteronormative Family: Same-sex relationships and parenting ‘after equality’ in R. Leckey (ed) After Legal Equality pp. 184-199. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Harding, R. (2014) ‘Dementia and Carers: Relationality and informal carers’ experiences’ in C. Foster, J. Herring & I. Doron (eds) Law, Ethics and Dementia pp. 379-391. Oxford: Hart.
  • Harding R. (2010) ‘Wilkinson v Kitzinger Judgment’ in Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice McGlynn C, Hunter R, Rackley E (Eds.). Oxford: Hart.
  • Harding, R. and Peel, E. (2007) ‘Heterosexism at work: diversity training, discrimination law and the limits of liberal individualism’ in Out in psychology: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer perspectives. Clarke V and Peel E (Eds.). Chichester, New York and Brisbane: Wiley.