Professor Rosie Harding

Professor Rosie Harding

Birmingham Law School
Professor of Law and Society
Associate Dean

Contact details

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 social justice, disability and family law. Her work has a particular focus on 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, British Academy and Leverhulme Trust.

Her current research is focused on the relationship between mental capacity and legal capacity in the context of everyday decisions made by people with intellectual disabilities. She is author of Duties to Care: Dementia, Relationality and Law (2017, Cambridge University Press) explores family carers’ experiences of the regulatory frameworks surrounding dementia care, and Regulating Sexuality, winner of the 2011 Hart-SLSA Book Prize and Early Career Prize. She is editor of Legal Capacity in Socio-Legal Context (2022, Hart), Revaluing Care in Theory, Law and Politics: Cycles and Connections (2017, Routledge Social Justice), Ageing and Sexualities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2016, Ashgate), and Law and Sexuality (2016, Routledge Critical Concepts). She is General Editor of the Law, Society, Policy series for Bristol University Press. Professor Harding was Chair of the Socio-Legal Studies Association from 2017 – 2022. She was a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow from 2016-2017. In 2017 she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for Law.

Professor Harding is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, an Honorary Academic Bencher of Middle Temple, and a Charity Trustee of Changing our Lives.


  • 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. She has held visiting positions at Lund University (Sweden), University of Adelaide (Australia), Flinders University (Australia) and the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Harding is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, an Honorary Academic Bencher of Middle Temple and a Charity Trustee for Changing Our Lives.

She is a member of the UKRI FLF panel college, the ESRC Peer Review College and also regularly reviews proposals for other national and international funding bodies. She is a member of the Society of Legal Scholars, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Professor Harding was a member of the SLSA executive committee from 2013-2022, serving as Vice Chair from 2015-2017, and Chair from 2017-2022. 

Professor Harding has undertaken many academic leadership roles, including: Associate Dean (2024 – present); Head of Research Funding (2022 – 2024); Acting Head of School (2014-15); Director of Research (2015-2016); Deputy Director of Research (2012 – 2014); Head of Postgraduate Research (2012-2014); PGT Director (2011-12). She has reviewed for over 40 peer-reviewed journals, including leading journals in socio-legal studies, healthcare law, disability and gender, sexuality and law. She is general editor of the Law, Society, Policy book series published by Bristol University Press. 

In 2017, Professor Harding was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for Law, and is currently focused on undertaking research supported by this prize.

Postgraduate supervision

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

- Mental Capacity and Disability Law, especially research involving questions of everyday decision-making, dementia, intellectual disability, powers of attorney, advance directives and end of life decision making.
- Older persons rights, especially research focused on older person’s attitudes to human rights, and the arguments for and against a new international convention on the rights of older persons.

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 a formal application.

Current PhD Students:
- Alex Cisneros ‘Vulnerability, Deprivation of Liberty and the Liberty Protection Safeguards’
- Dhanishka Seneviratne ‘Vulnerability, Relationality, and Disability-Selective Abortions: Assessing the effects of responsive state action in the conflict between disability rights and reproductive choice’ (ESRC Funded)
- Sumaiyah Kholwadia ‘Legal and Policy Barriers Impeding Muslim Women's Right to Spiritual Equality’ (AHRC funded)
- Aman Thakur ‘Developing disability assessment policies in light of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’.
- Ketevan Khomeriki ‘Reconceptualising mental health law through experiences of people with psychosocial needs in Georgia’ (ESRC funded)

Find out more - our PhD Law  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


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 to solve problems. Much of 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.

Her current research seeks to understand the ways that ideas of capacity operate in everyday legally relevant decision making. Her Everyday Decisions project ( explored the place of law in the everyday lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Using qualitative research methods, this project interrogates 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. This research was funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship award.

In 2018 she undertook a follow-up project building on her findings from the Everyday Decisions project to explore socio-legal dimensions of supported will-making. This work was funded by the University of Birmingham ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, and was in collaboration with the Law Commission of England and Wales.

Her more recent research has focused on accessibility in legal services, and the importance of accessible legal information. More information is available on the Everyday Decisions project website.

Other activities

  • Honorary Academic Bencher, Middle Temple
  • Fellow, Academy of Social Sciences
  • Trustee, Changing our Lives (2019- present)
  • General Editor, Law, Society, Policy book series (Bristol University Press)
  • British Academy Mid-Career Fellow 2016-17
  • Philip Leverhulme Prizewinner 2017
  • Chair, Socio-Legal Studies Association, 2017-2022
  • Fellow of the ESRC Peer-Review College and the UKRI Future Leadership Fellows Panel College




Recent publications


Donnelly, M, Harding, R & Tascioglu , E (eds) 2022, Supporting Legal Capacity in Socio-Legal Context. Oñati International Series in Law and Society, 1st edn, Hart Publishing, Oxford. <>


McMullan, C, Retzer, A, Hughes, S, Aiyegbusi, OL, Bathurst, C, Boyd, A, Coleman, J, Davies, EH, Denniston, A, Dunster, H, Frost, C, Harding, R, Hunn, A, Kyte, D, Malpass, R, McNamara, G, Mitchell, SA, Mittal, S, Newsome, P, Price, G, Rowe, A, van Reil, W, Walker, A, Wilson, R & Calvert, M 2023, 'Development and usability testing of an electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) solution for patients with inflammatory diseases in an Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) basket trial', Journal of Patient-Reported Outcomes, vol. 7, no. 1, 98.

Harding, R 2023, 'Making Legal Information Accessible and Supporting Vulnerable Clients', Journal of Elder Law and Capacity, vol. 2023, no. Spring, pp. 15-34. <>

Harding, R 2022, 'Doing research with intellectually disabled participants: reflections on the challenges of capacity and consent in socio-legal research', Journal of Law and Society, vol. 48, no. S1, pp. S28-S43.

Hughes, S, McMullan, C, Rowe, A, Retzer, A, Malpass, R, Bathurst, C, Davies, EH, Frost, C, McNamara, G, Harding, R, Price, G, Wilson, R, Walker, A, Newsome, P & Calvert, M 2022, 'Feasibility of a new electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) system for an advanced therapy clinical trial in immune-mediated inflammatory disease (PROmics): protocol for a qualitative feasibility study', BMJ open, vol. 12, no. 9, e063199.

Lindsey, J & Harding, R 2021, 'Capabilities, capacity and consent: sexual intimacy in the court of protection', Journal of Law and Society, vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 60-83.

Harding, R 2021, 'Safeguarding freedom? Liberty Protection Safeguards, social justice and the rule of law', Current Legal Problems, vol. 74, no. 1, cuab011, pp. 329–359.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Harding, R 2022, Supporting everyday legal capacity: navigating the complexities of putting rights into practice. in M Donnelly, R Harding & E Tascioglu (eds), Supporting Legal Capacity in Socio-Legal Context. 1st edn, Oñati International Series in Law and Society, Bloomsbury Publishing, pp. 291-313. <>

Harding, R & Tascioglu , E 2020, ‘That’s a bit of a minefield': Supported decision-making in intellectually disabled people’s intimate lives. in C Ashford & A Maine (eds), Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality and the Law. Edward Elgar, pp. 256-270. <>


Cowan, D & Harding, R 2022, Legal consciousness and administrative justice. in M Hertogh, R Kirkham, R Thomas & J Tomlinson (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Administrative Justice. Oxford University Press, pp. 437–456.

Harding, R, Donnelly, M & Tascioglu , E 2022, Situating the right to enjoy legal capacity. in M Donnelly, R Harding & E Tascioglu (eds), Supporting Legal Capacity in Socio-Legal Context. 1st edn, Oñati International Series in Law and Society, Hart Publishing, Oxford, pp. 1-18. <>

Harding, R 2021, COVID-19 in adult social care: futures, funding and fairness. in D Cowan & A Mumford (eds), Pandemic Legalities: Legal Responses to COVID-19 - Justice and Social Responsibility. Law, Society, Policy, Bristol University Press, pp. 119-130. <>

Harding, R 2021, “He got down on one knee”: intellectual disability, intimacy and family law. in B Clough & J Herring (eds), Disability, Care and Family Law. 1 edn, Routledge, London, pp. 156-181.

Harding, R 2020, Challenging Capacity: Shifting Paradigms of Intellectual Disability across Law, Medicine and Society. in M-A Jacob & A Kirkland (eds), Research Handbook on Socio-Legal Studies of Medicine and Health. Edward Elgar, pp. 52-69. <>

Harding, R 2020, Response: Reflections on Ageing and the Binaries of Vulnerability. in D Bedford & J Herring (eds), Embracing Vulnerability: The Challenges and Implications for Law. Routledge. <>

View all publications in research portal


Health and social care regulation, including social care, dementia care, and intellectual disability; Court of Protection, mental capacity and human rights; law and sexuality, including same sex marriage and LGBT* rights; discrimination and equality law.



Legal rights and access to legal representation for disabled people

Law and dementia

The Regulation of Adult Social Care

Mental capacity law

Healthcare law

LGBT+ rights, equality and discrimination law

International human rights (particularly in the fields of disability, older people, and gender/sexuality)