The Essex Autonomy Project’s work on UK compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCPRD) is a contribution to an ongoing process of legal reform across the UK and around the world, the broad aim of which is to ensure respect for the rights of persons with disabilities.
In 2015 and 2016 the Essex Autonomy Project has been working with collaborators from Edinburgh Napier University, TC Young Solicitors, 39 Essex Chambers and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission on project specifically investigating compliance with the UNCRPD in the three jurisdictions of the UK.
For an overview of the history of CRPD, a review of the relevant procedures and authorities and a survey of the controversies that have surrounded this interface between international law, domestic legislation and the concrete realities of delivering care to persons whose decision-making abilities may be impaired by disabilities, the lecture below is by Wayne Martin.
The Essex Autonomy Project report on compliance with Art.12 of the UNCRPD in capacity/incapacity legislation across the three jurisdictions of the UK has been produced and is available via this website. The report is the culmination of a collaborative sixteen-month project undertaking an assessment of mental capacity/adult incapacity legislation in the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom: England & Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. It is intended to provide technical research support to UK officials who will be involved in the forthcoming UN review of UK compliance with the UNCPRD, to make recommendations in support of ongoing efforts across the UK to reform mental capacity/adult incapacity legislation in order to achieve CRPD compliance and to provide analysis, both of current legislation and possible alternatives, that will be useful to those around the world who are involved in the reform of mental health and mental capacity legislation in accordance with the human rights requirements of the CRPD.
If you would like a hard copy of the report, or an emailed Word version, please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Three Jurisdictions project team also produced briefing papers on several aspects of CRPD compliance. These are available to download via the resource section of this website.
The 2016 report is an extension of work undertaken by the EAP research team in 2014 in support of the UK Ministry of Justice review of whether the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is compliant with the CRPD. The report produced as part of this earlier project is also available to download.
Professor Wayne Martin, director of the EAP and project lead, explains:
The MCA applies only in England and Wales; this new project allowed us to undertake close study of the Adults with Incapacity Act in Scotland and the emerging legislation in Northern Ireland. The UK representative will need to report to the UN on progress towards CRPD-compliance in all three jurisdictions; our team will provide research support for that UN Engagement Process.
The project team comprises of Prof Wayne Martin, Prof Sabine Michalowski of the Essex Human Rights Centre, and Prof Jill Stavert of Edinburgh Napier University. Other contributors to the project team include Adrian Ward and Alison Hempsey (TC Young Solicitors), Alex Ruck Keene (39 Essex Chambers and University of Manchester), and Colin Caughey (Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission). Pro bono legal advice is provided by Jason Coppel QC (Kings Bench Walk Chambers). The project also involves close collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation, a leading UK charity devoted to improving the lives of persons with mental health problems or learning difficulties.
Funding for this project comes from a variety of sources. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which has supported the EAP since its inception in 2010, awarded follow-on funding for the project. The AHRC grant supplemented funding provided by the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC), under its “Impact Acceleration” scheme. Additional funding and in-kind support for the project was received from the Law Society of Scotland, the Centre for Mental Health and Incapacity Law, Rights and Policy at Edinburgh Napier University, and three legal firms: TC Young Solicitors, 39 Essex Chambers, and Kings Bench Walk Chambers.