Professor Anna Lawson
- Position: Professor of Law
- Areas of expertise: Disability rights and law; human rights; UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; equality; accessibility; inclusion; inclusive public space; access to justice; disability studies.
- Email: A.M.M.Lawson@leeds.ac.uk
- Phone: +44(0)113 343 5054
- Location: G.14 The Liberty Building
- Website: ORCID
I have worked at the University of Leeds throughout my academic career. As somebody who is blind, the services of the RNIB and University of Leeds Transcription Centre were a huge draw, and continue to provide me (and others) with invaluable support.
My academic interest in disability and law is rooted in my own experience of life as a disabled person. I am committed to working with disabled people, researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds, and other stakeholders to tackle the persistent forms of disadvantage and exclusion experienced by disabled people all over the world.
I hold membership, trustee and advisory positions in a range of local, national and international disabled people’s and human rights organisations. I also regularly advise policy-makers, governments and intergovernmental organisations. For example, I acted as expert advisor on accessibility for the Council of Europe in connection with its Disability Strategy 2017-2023; was a special advisor to the House of Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee in connection with its inquiry into Disability and the Built Environment 2016-2017; and am a long-standing advisor to the Equality and Human Rights Commission on disability law and policy.
I am very proud to have been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Louvain la Neuve, and to be a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, the winner of the 2016 Bob Hepple Memorial Prize for contributions to equality (awarded by the Equal Rights Trust and the Industrial Law Society), an honorary Master of the Bench at Middle Temple, and patron of the National Association of Disabled Staff Networks.
- Joint Director of the University-wide interdisciplinary Centre for Disability Studies
- Co-ordinator of the Disability Law Hub
My research focuses on disability equality and human rights at the UN, European and domestic level. I am particularly interested in opportunities for change created by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in accessibility, reasonable accommodation and equality, in access to justice and the disabling and enabling potential of law.
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My current research projects are:
- Inclusive Public Space (IPS) European Research Council Advanced Grant (project co-ordinator and principal investigator.)
- University of Leeds East Asia Disability Forum (ULEAD) (project co-ordinator and principal investigator).
- European Disability Expertise (EDE) network– funded by the European Commission and managed by the Human European Consultancy (for which I am a senior expert with responsibility to lead work on selected policy themes).
- Disability Advocacy Research in Europe (DARE) a Marie-Curie Initial Training Network (in which I am a co-investigator and PhD supervisor for the University of Leeds).
My previous research projects include:
- Academic Network of European Disability Experts (ANED) – funded by the European Commission and managed by Human European Consultancy (for which I was a member of the co-ordinating research team from its inception in 2008-2019).
- Securing Access to Justice for Children with Intellectual and/or Psychosocial Disabilities – a 10 country project funded by the European Commission (for which I was a member of the co-ordinating research team).
- Evaluating EU progress in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the EU Disability Strategy - funded by the European Commission (for which I was a member of the co-ordinating research team).
People with Learning Disabilities and User-Led Health Service Quality Checking – funded by NHS England (for which I was a project co-ordinator).
Fundamental Rights of People with Intellectual Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions: Social Data Collection – funded by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (member of the co-ordinating research team).
Various commissioned pieces of work for the EU Network of Legal Experts in Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination, including:-
- Thematic Report on Reasonable Accommodation for Disabled People in Employment Contexts: A Legal Analysis of EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (co-authored with Delia Ferri).
- Disability and Non-Discrimination Law in the European Union: A Thematic Analysis of Disability Non-Discrimination Law Within and Beyond the Employment Field (co-authored with Lisa Waddington)
- LLB Leeds
- BCL Oxford
- PhD Leeds
- Socio-Legal Studies Association
- Society of Legal Scholars
- Law and Society Association
- Middle Temple
- Society of Visually Impaired Lawyers
- Access Association
I currently teach (at undergraduate and postgraduate levels) in the areas of disability law, equality and human rights. I also supervise dissertations and PhDs in these areas.
Research groups and institutes
- Disability Law Hub
- Centre for Disability Studies
- Centre for Law and Social Justice