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Research Project

Everyday Decisions

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, acquired brain injuries, and 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 project 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.

You can find out more about the research, including how to take part, 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.

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This research project is funded by the British Academy and being carried out by researchers at the University of Birmingham. It has ethical approval from the University of Birmingham Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.


University of Birmingham, Birmingham Law School