Professor Rosie Harding

Professor Rosie Harding

Birmingham Law School
Professor of Law and Society

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. Her latest book, Duties to Care: Dementia, Relationality and Law (2017, Cambridge University Press) explores family carers’ experiences of the regulatory frameworks surrounding dementia care. 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. Professor Harding was a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow from 2016-2017. In 2017 she was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Law.

Professor Harding is Chair of the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA), 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 has been a member of the SLSA executive committee since 2013, serving as Vice Chair from 2015-2017, and has been Chair of the SLSA since 2017. Professor Harding is a Fellow of the ESRC Peer Review College, and also regularly reviews proposals for other national and international funding bodies. She is also a member of the Society of Legal Scholars and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In 2004, she founded PECANS, a network of early career scholars working in the field of Gender, Sexuality and Law. She has reviewed for over 30 peer-reviewed journals, including leading journals in socio-legal studies, healthcare law, and gender, sexuality and law.

Professor Harding has undertaken many academic leadership roles, including: 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 is currently the Socio-Legal Studies Pathway Lead for the Midlands Graduate School ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership, and general editor of a new book series to be published by Bristol University Press: Law, Society, Policy.

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


  • LM Socio-Legal Method

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.
Gender, Sexuality and Law, particularly issues to do with care, family law, discrimination, equality and human rights.
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.

Professor Harding is Pathway Co-ordinator for Socio-Legal Studies for the ESRC Midlands Graduate School Doctoral Training Partnership.

Current PhD Students:
Magdalena Furgalska ‘Capabilities and Supported Decision-Making in Mental Health Law’ (ESRC Funded)
Chloe Waterman ‘Legal Decision-Making in Dementia: A Conversation Analytic Study’ (ESRC Funded)
Irfan Yusuf ‘Educating Deaf Children in the UK: A Human Rights Perspective’

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. 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 ( explores 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. More information is available on the Everyday Decisions [] project website.

Professor Harding became a charity trustee of Changing our Lives in January 2019.

Her recently published monograph, Duties to Care: Dementia, Relationality and Law (2017, Cambridge University Press) explores 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. This work was funded by the British Academy. For more information see the Dementia Project website (, and the Birmingham Law School Research Spotlight 'Duties to Care: Why we all have a duty to care about Dementia'.

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. An edited collection of academic essays ReValuing Care in Theory, Law and Policy: Cycles and Connections (2017, Routledge, with Ruth Fletcher and Chris Beasley) has been published, drawing on work presented at the network events.

Other activities

  • Chair, Socio-Legal Studies Association
  • Trustee, Changing our Lives
  • General Editor, Law, Society, Policy book series (Bristol University Press)
  • British Academy Mid-Career Fellow 2016-17
  • Fellow of the ESRC Peer-Review College



Recent publications


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 & Peel, E 2019, 'Polyphonic legality: power of attorney through dialogic interaction' Social and Legal Studies, vol. 28, no. 5, pp. 675-697.

Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, Ageing and Dementia Task Team 2018, 'Consent recommendations for research and international data sharing involving persons with dementia', Alzheimer's & Dementia, vol. 14, no. 10, pp. 1334-1343.

Harding, R & Tascioglu, E 2018, 'Supported decision-making from theory to practice: implementing the right to enjoy legal capacity', Societies, vol. 8, no. 2, 25.

Harding, R 2018, 'Supporting legal capacity through supported decision making' Down's Syndrome Association Journal, vol. 138, no. Autumn/Winter 2018, pp. 30-31.

Harding, R 2017, 'A relational (re)view of the UK's social care crisis', Palgrave Communications.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

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. <>


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. <>

Cowan, D & Harding, R 2021, Legal consciousness and administrative justice. in J Tomlinson, R Thomas, M Hertogh & R Kirkham (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Administrative Justice. Oxford University Press.

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. <>

Harding, R 2018, Equality, social justice, and older people. in I Doron & N Georgantzi (eds), Ageing, Ageism and the Law: European Perspectives on the Rights of Older Persons. Cheltenham, pp. 15-36.

Bendall, C & Harding, R 2018, Heteronormativity in dissolution proceedings: exploring the impact of recourse to legal advice in same sex relationship breakdown. in E Brake & L Ferguson (eds), Philosophical foundations of children’s and family law. Oxford University Press, pp. 134-152.

Harding, R 2018, Mental Capacity Act 2005. in E Rackley & R Auchmuty (eds), Women's Legal Landmarks: Celebrating the History of Women and Law in the UK and Ireland. 1st edn, Hart Publishing, pp. 533-538. <>

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)