Do mental capacity laws serve the people they are meant to empower? What do the ideas and values underpinning these laws tell us about the way liberal jurisdiction conceptualises mental capacity and (dis)ability?
In her important new book, The Spaces of Mental Capacity Law: Moving Beyond Binaries, former ISRF Fellow Dr Beverley Clough explores a range of conceptual, legal, and political problems that surround mental capacity laws.
Situating the 2005 Mental Capacity Act in its historical and legal context, Dr Clough investigates the conceptual and legal binaries that underpin it. As she shows, such binaries as capacity/incapacity, disabled/non-disabled, and empower/protect make for a simplistic and coarse framework, unfit to deal with the complexities of human subjectivity and mental capacity. By delving into the spatial boundaries that this framework draws around individuals, institutions, and professionals, she mounts a forceful challenge to the problematic ideals underpinning mental capacity law. In the process, she issues a clarion call for profound conceptual change both within and beyond legal theory.
Beverley Clough offers an overview of her book with responses from two experts on the topic: Ruth Fletcher, a Senior Lecturer in Medical Law at Queen Mary University of London and co-editor (with Rosie Harding and Chris Beasley) of ReValuing Care in Theory, Law and Policy (2016); and Oche Onazi, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Northumbria and author of An African path to Disability Justice: Community, Relationships and Obligations (2020). Questions and a discussion follow, moderated by Dr Lars Cornelissen, ISRF Academic Editor.
This is the sixteenth in the ISRF’s series of Book Launches.