Nov 14 2016 Posted: 09:56 GMT

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy project, The Voices of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self-determination (VOICES) will hold a seminar on ‘The Freedom to Choose: Contracts, Capacity and the Law’.  The free public seminar will take place on Friday, 18 November in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, NUI Galway. 

Contracts are entered every single day - when shopping, paying bills or downloading apps on mobile phones. However, many people are denied the opportunity to make legally binding contracts, often because they are perceived to lack mental capacity. This seminar will explore capacity to contract in many areas of life for people with disabilities (including people with dementia and mental health experience) such as tenancy agreements, buying a home, contracts for services and financial agreements. It will examine how with the right support, people can make legally binding contracts that respect their will and preferences, while providing security for third parties who enter into contracts with people using this kind of support.

The seminar will be of interest to students, researchers, people with disabilities, people with experience of the mental health system, family members, and practitioners in the fields of law, health and social care.

Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Principal Investigator on the VOICES Project and Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “The speakers at the event come from a wide range of countries including Bulgaria, Kenya, Ireland, Australia, Canada, the US and the UK. The speakers also have a diverse range of experience – as lawyers, researchers, self-advocates and activists, with personal and professional experience of contract law and the restrictions faced by people with disabilites when entering into contracts in all areas of life. Together, we hope to answer some of the most difficult questions about how equality before the law and freedom of choice can be guaranteed for people with disabilities, by reflecting on the stories and experiences of participants in the project and jointly developing new proposals for reform.”

The VOICES project is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, awarded to Dr Eilionóir Flynn, the youngest person to ever receive such an award.

Further information is available at www.ercvoices.com or email Clíona de Bhailís on ercvoices@nuigalway.ie or 091 494272. Participant accessibility requests and enquiries are welcomed.

-Ends-

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