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The Concept of Will and the Capacity to Contract: A Multidisciplinary Human Rights Approach

1st November 2018 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester

In the contemporary world, social relations are mediated at every turn by contracts. Employment is based on a contract; housing is based on a contract; so is access to basic utilities and insurance. Increasingly, even basic communication is predicated upon a patchwork of contractual relationships. Yet for persons living with certain disabilities, every contract threshold has the potential to become an obstacle to full participation in social life.

On 1st November, 2018, the Essex Autonomy Project , the Essex Human Rights Centre, and IRIS (the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion in Society) will co-host a one-day workshop exploring the challenge of achieving inclusive access to contractual relations for persons living with disabilities.

The landmark United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires states parties to recognise the legal capacity of persons with disabilities in all matters on an equal basis. One component of legal capacity is the legal capacity to contract: the power to enter, exit and enforce contractual relationships.

This one-day workshop will bring together an international and multidisciplinary group of experts and activists to consider the obstacles and opportunities in this area of law and practice. Do current cognitive tests for “capacity to contract” constitute unlawful discrimination? How can obligations regarding non-discrimination and equal recognition be met while also satisfying human rights obligations to protect persons with disabilities from exploitation and abuse? What role should the need for “transactional security” play in structuring legal reform?

The meeting is open to the public.

Participation is free but seating is limited; to book a place please send an e-mail to: autonomy@essex.ac.uk.

You can find a full programme for the event here.


1st November 2018
9:00 am - 5:00 pm


University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
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Essex Autonomy Project
Essex Human Rights Centre
IRIS – Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion in Society

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