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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LAW3055 Disability Law

20 creditsClass Size: 45

Module manager: Anna Lawson

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Law has a key role to play in constructing a society in which disabled people ( who make up approximately 15% of the UK's population) are able to live, flourish and contribute on an equal basis with others. This innovative module adopts a socio-legal approach. It introduces students to theoretical perspectives - particularly those which have political significance such as the social model of disability). It aims to encourage students to reflect critically on law's potential to be 'enabling' - in the sense of facilitating full inclusion and equality for people who have (or have labels of) physical, sensory, cognitive, emotional or other 'impairments'. Integral to this is sensitivity to law's potential to be 'disabling' – in the sense of generating barriers to inclusion. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) provides important underpinnings for the module, but the focus of the module is law in the UK (particularly England and Wales). Selected elements of this law will be considered and critiqued in light of the CRPD, the social model of disability and other theoretical perspectives. Analysis and debate will be enriched by the participation throughout the module of people who work in disabled people's organisations and human rights organisations focusing on disability. Prior legal knowledge is not required – non-law students with an interest in disability politics and social justice are encouraged to join us.


The objectives of this module are:
–to introduce students to the idea of critiquing law from a disability perspective;
–to outline, and bring together, some of the key domains of law which focus primarily on disabled people;
–to reflect critically on the role of law in the lives of disabled people, including on issues of access to justice.
–to deepen awareness amongst students of the work of disabled people's and human rights organisations; and
–to strengthen collaboration between the Law School and the disability community.

Learning outcomes
At the end of this module, students will be aware of, and have a clear understanding of:
–how substantive law may operate as a barrier to the inclusion, participation and autonomy of disabled people;
–the nature and scope of key areas of law impacting particularly on disabled people;
–the nature of barriers to accessing justice and to using the law to achieve change on the ground;
–the role of civil society – in particular disabled people's organisations – in enhancing the potential effectiveness of law to achieve social justice.


Terminology and normative frameworks ('disability', 'impairment', 'law', social model of disability, human rights (including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities); disability critique of selected elements of 'mainstream' law (ie law not primarily concerned with disability such as tort, crime, contract); equality and non-discrimination law – objectives, basic concepts, critique/reform; social care and welfare law – objectives, basic concepts and critique/reform; mental health and mental capacity law – basic concepts, critique/reform; access to justice and the justice system.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

10 hours preparation per seminar =60 hours
60 hours writing essay
30 hours for blog
20 hours for self-reflective log

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Reflective log1- no more than 1,000 words20.00
Essay1 essay 2,000 words60.00
Written WorkBlog - 1,000 words20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 27/07/2016


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