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ESRC DTP Joint Studentship in the Midlands Graduate School

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The Midlands Graduate School is an accredited Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), with the first intake of students to begin in October 2017.

One of 14 such partnerships in the UK, the Midlands Graduate School is a collaboration between the University of Warwick, Aston University, University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, Loughborough University and the University of Nottingham.

The Midlands Graduate School is now inviting applications for an ESRC Doctoral Joint Studentship between Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham (where the student will be registered) and the Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, to commence in October 2017.

Legal Decision-Making in Dementia: A Conversation Analytic Study

Supporting people with cognitive impairments to make their own decisions is a pressing contemporary socio-legal issue, mandated by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This qualitative empirical socio-legal project will explore how legal professionals and family members support people with dementia to make decisions about Wills and Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). In the case of a dementia diagnosis, functional mental capacity may be in question, particularly if the client has difficulties with processing information or communicating their decisions. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 requires that legal actors and family members assess the capacity of people with dementia to make decisions, and provide support where necessary to help them to do so before relying on “best interests” substituted decision-making.

This project interrogates interactions where mental capacity is questioned in the context of legal decision-making about wills and LPAs. Previous research has shown that carers and family members are often involved in facilitating these kinds of legal actions, because interpersonal relationships and families are fundamental to those living with increasing cognitive and communicative impairment. It is crucial, therefore, to take a relational approach to understanding legal decision-making in dementia, as this may enable English law to become fully compatible with the supported decision-making requirements of the UN CRPD. Conceptually, the project will draw on relational theory to allow analysis of the multidimensionality of everyday decision making.

Application deadline: 21 February 2017, Tuesday, 4pm. Informal enquiries about the research or Birmingham Law School prior to application can be directed to Professor Rosie Harding, r.j.harding@bham.ac.uk.

Source: University of Warwick

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