Charlotte May-Simera

PhD Candidate

B.A.(Hons); G.C. Psychology; B.A.; M.A., LL.M.


Charlotte has an undergraduate degree in Children, Welfare and Society from the University of Exeter and a Graduate Certificate in Psychology from the University of Sunderland. She also holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the Hogeschool Zuyd, Maastricht, a postgraduate degree in Comparative European Social Studies from the Metropolitan University London and an LL.M. in International and International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy from the University of Ireland, Galway.

Charlotte has an extensive background in working with disability and children’s services (Lebenshilfe, Johannes Busch Haus, Maerkische Werkstaetten) and supporting disability self-advocacy.

As a trainee in the Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Charlotte worked on European Youth and Social Inclusion policy before becoming a Communications Assistant at the European Disability Forum. After coming to Galway Charlotte worked as a legal researcher at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the National University of Ireland, Galway. As legal reasearcher, Charlotte substantially contributed to the Centre’s annual publication (European Yearbook of Disability Law Volume 3-5) and has supported its work on a range of Submissions, Amicus Briefs other legal briefs, positions papers, EU and Irish Research Council research projects . Also while at the CDLP, Charlotte worked on research reports for the Academic Network of European Disability experts (ANED) and supported the formation of an independent advocacy group, the (National Platform of Self-advocates).

Throughout her PhD Charlotte has occasionally taught undergraduate and postgraduate students and has worked as an educational support worker. She has also been a peer reviewer for Journal articles in the area of disability law and policy and is a member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association.


Research Interests

Intellectual Disabillity, Human Rights Law, Equality, Disability Advocacy, Intersectionality, Liberal Theory, Critical Disabilty Studies, Employment Policy and Law, Supported and Inclusive employment, Inclusive research, Sociology, Socio-legal research, Public Procurement Law

Research Projects

Charlotte has worked with civil society organisations, politicians and NGOs running a project entitled, ‘Spending Socially- Achieving Social Value Through Public Procurement’. This project bought together experts in the fields of public procurement and the social economy with the aim is to explore the potential of social clauses in public contracts and discuss the social benefits that can be achieved through targeted government spending. This  project supported the capacity building with respect to tendering processes, in particular promoting social enterprises that focus on creating employment opportunities for marginalised groups. 

PhD Research Topic: Charlotte is a Hardiman Scholar currently in her 4th year of her PhD studies. Her research project is titled, ‘Reconsidering the Role of Sheltered Workshops in Light of the UN CRPD’ and is funded by the Irish Research Council. Her thesis explores the dynamics of exclusion and inclusion in policies and law effecting people with intellectual disabilities.

Other Research Projects: ANED reports: Country profile – Ireland; Country report on the Accessibility of Healthcare; Country report on legal frameworks and instruments on access to healthcare - Ireland; Country reports on citizenship and political participation - Ireland; Country report on accessibility - Ireland

Other training:

  • ‘Supported Decision Making workshop’ with Cher Nicholson
  • ‘The Role of PA’s in Disability Support’, (future learning course) by Tom Shakespeare.
  • Child Protection Training (National Youth Council of Ireland)
  • Children First Training (Túsla, Child and Family Agency)
  • European Rights Adequacy training on EU Disability Law and the UNCRPD
  • ‘Global Issues in Development training’ course (SUAS and Irish Aid)
  • ‘Including Diversity and Preventing Discrimination’- International Training Centre of the ILO

Research Publications

Journal Articles

  • Charlotte May-Simera, ‘Reconsidering Sheltered Workshops in Light of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006)’, (2018) 7(1) Laws, 6.
  • Charlotte May-Simera, ‘Is the Irish Comprehensive Employment Strategy fit for purpose in promoting the employment of people with intellectual disabilities in the open labour market? A discussion using evidence from the National Intellectual Disability Database’, (2018) 15(4) Journal of Policies and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities.

Book Chapters

  • Charlotte May-Simera & Elizabeth Kamundia, ‘Disability Quota Systems in Public Service Employment, Positive Discrimination and Article 27 of the CRPD’ in Charles O’Mahony and Gerard Quinn (eds.), Disability Law and Policy: An Analysis of the UN Convention (Clarus Press, 2017).

Teaching Areas

Charlotte has lectured on EU Law, EU and Irish disability policy and the Right to work in International Law. She has facilitated Moot Court proceedings and sessions at the International Disability Law Summer School held at NUI Galway and is the co-convenor of an Academic writing workshop.