Principal Investigators: Dr Jillian Craigie, Professor Anthony David (University College London), Dr Hanna Kienzler (King’s College London), Professor Wayne Martin (University of Essex) and Dr Gareth Owen (King’s College London, lead PI).
Team lead by Dr Jillian Craigie: Antonia Alley (Research Assistant), Dr Michael Bach (IRIS, Toronto), Jodie Rawles (PhD student), Dr Isabel Clare (University of Cambridge), Professor Francesca Happé (King’s College London), Professor Matt Matravers (University of York), Dr Paul Skowron (Research Fellow).
People generally take their ability to enter legal transactions and relationships for granted, for example, in signing up for a phone contract, giving or refusing medical consent or getting married. However, when someone has a mental disability, protective frameworks in many jurisdictions can restrict the person’s ability to do these kinds of things.
Such frameworks raise vexing questions about the proper balance between protecting the person and respecting their wishes and own way of living. This Wellcome-funded collaboration brings together philosophers, lawyers, advocates, social scientists, psychologists, clinicians and neuroscientists to explore this tension, through an examination of the key legal concepts ‘mental incapacity’ and ‘supported decision making’.
The concept of ‘mental incapacity’ is often used to determine when invoking a protective framework is appropriate. However, developments in international human rights law have called into question the legitimacy of this approach, and have instead emphasised ‘supported decision-making’ as a more appropriate response.
Within the collaboration, Dr Jillian Craigie leads a work stream investigating the meaning and implementation of ‘supported decision-making’. It brings together researchers from King’s College London, University of Cambridge, University of York and the Institutes for Research and Development on Inclusion in Society (Toronto). Central strands of this research are investigating the purpose of decision-making support from a human rights perspective; how ‘undue influence’ should be understood within the support relationship; and how adults with an intellectual disability are supported in decisions about contraception, in England and Wales.
Jillian Craigie et al., International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Volume 62, January–February 2019, Pages 160-168, 'Legal capacity, mental capacity and supported decision-making: Report from a panel event'
Paul Skowron (2019), International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Volume 62, January–February 2019, Pages 125-134, 'Giving substance to ‘the best interpretation of will and preferences’