Photo of Professor Rosie Harding, chair in Law and Society at Birmingham Law School

Professor Rosie Harding has been awarded a prestigious British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for the academic year 2016–2017 to work on a project entitled Everyday Decisions: Interrogating the interface between mental capacity and legal capacity.

The right to equal recognition of all persons before the law is a long-standing legal principle. People with intellectual disabilities (here understood to include those with learning disabilities, acquired brain injuries, and dementia) are often denied their right to equal treatment before the law. This is usually because of perceived limitations in their ‘mental’ capacity, or their ability to make and communicate decisions.

Using qualitative research methods, this project (awarded £134,000) seeks to 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. It aims to generate new legal solutions to the difficult challenge of operationalising rights to equal treatment under the law for people with intellectual disabilities.

This project will involve empirical research, and there are opportunities for involvement in the development of that research by people with intellectual disabilities and their supporters. Contact Rosie Harding on or +44(0)121 414 4960 for further information.