About the LL.M. in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy

The Master of Laws in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy, comprising course work and the preparation of a dissertation, is available both on a full-time basis over one academic year and on a part-time basis over two academic years.  The programme comprises two semesters of course work and the preparation of a dissertation.  It is designed for graduates who wish to work in the field of disability law and policy, in government, non-governmental organisations at national and international level, as well as in private practice.  The programme focuses on the dynamics of legal and social change including contemporary law reform challenges in the disability law. 

1. Entry Requirements

To be admitted to the LL.M., candidates must be approved by the School of Law. An interview may form part of the selection process. Applications will be considered from those candidates who satisfy one or other of the following prerequisites:
 
(a) Candidates who hold, or expect to hold by the term of entry a degree in law, which the School requires to have been awarded with Second Class Honours, Grade I or its equivalent.
(b) Candidates who hold, or expect to hold by the term of entry, an interdisciplinary degree which includes a substantial law component, and in which they have attained a Second Class Honours (Grade I) standard or its equivalent.
(c) Candidates who hold a degree other than a law degree, in which they have obtained Second Class Honours Grade I standard, or equivalent, and who are qualified legal practitioners.
(d) Exceptionally, non-law graduates with Second Class Honours Grade One who have such other educational and/or professional experience in Law or Disability Rights, as in the opinion of the School of Law, qualifies them to read for the LL.M.
(e) In exceptional circumstances candidates whose grade at primary degree is below H.2.1 standard but who can demonstrate appropriate relevant academic accomplishments may be considered.

2. Regulations

2.1 Candidates for the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy must pursue a course of full- time study of not less than one academic year.  Candidates may not simultaneously pursue any other degree course during this period. A limited number of students may be allowed to pursue their studies on a part-time basis over two academic years.
 
2.2 Candidates are required to attend the prescribed courses in the School of Law in accordance with the requirements of each course.
 
2.3 Courses may be of year-long or semester duration, and are organised into modules which carry a credit unit weighting or value reflecting the extent and difficulty of the course concerned.
 
2.4 LL.M. candidates may, with the permission of the School of Law, spend a period or periods pursuing research and/or courses at other universities or Law Schools for academic credit.
 
2.5 In order to be eligible for the award of the LL.M. degree, a candidate must present a dissertation of 20,000 words (30 ECTS), take introductory courses in LW483 Advanced Legal Research and Methods (5 ECTS); LW484 Law, Regulation and Policy (5 ECTS) and LW Introduction to Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods (5 ECTS) and LW   Foundational Theoretical Framework in Disability Law and Policy and complete such additional course modules from the list of courses offered in any particular year so as to accumulate a minimum of 90 ECTS overall.
 
2.6 Subject to 2.5 above, course modules must be chosen from the subject option schedule (as set out below) which is available from the Law School and which is subject to change on an annual basis.  Not all courses may be available in a particular year.  Applicants for admission to the programme should check the courses available in the relevant academic year.
 
2.7 Candidates who are registered to take the Programme on a part-time basis shall in First Year take LW Foundational Theoretical Framework in Disability Law and Policy as well as courses to a total of 15 ECTS, amounting to 30 ECTS overall.  In Second Year students must complete LW483 Advanced Legal Research and Methods (5 ECTS); LW484 Law, Regulation and Policy (5 ECTS) and LW Introduction to Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods (5 ECTS) courses amounting to 15 ECTS and the Dissertation, amounting to 60 ECTS overall.

2.8 Courses may be examined by examination, written assignment, or project work on placement at dates as specified by the lecturers concerned.  The Dissertation must be submitted by the date as specified by the Law School.
 
2.9 Honours are awarded in accordance with the following standards: First Class Honours, an aggregate of (about) 70%; Second Class Honours, Grade I, an aggregate of (about) 60%; Second Class Honours, Grade II, an aggregate of (about) 50%.  A pass is 40%.
 
2.10 All subjects must be passed individually.  A candidate who fails a single subject may, at the discretion of the School of Law, re-present for that subject.  
 
2.11 LL.M. candidates may, with the permission of the Programme Director, undertake up to 15 ECTS from a menu of courses provided by other LL.M. programmes delivered by the School of Law.  Such permission will be granted in line with any rules and regulations governing inter-operability.

3. Subject Schedule

Obligatory  Subjects
Code Subject ECTS
LW484 Law, Regulation and Policy 5
LW Foundational Theoretical Framework in Disability Law and Policy 15
LW Dissertation 30
Optional Subjects
Code Subject ECTS
  Regional Disability Law and Policy 10
  US Disability Law and Policy 10
  Irish Disability Law and Policy 10
  Legal Capacity Law and Policy 10
  Advocacy and Access to Justice 10
  Law and Policy on Independent Living 10
  Mental Health Law and Policy 10
  Inclusive Education Law and Policy 10
  Lifecourse issues on Disability Law and Policy 10
  Contemporary Challenges in Disability Law and Policy 10

LW     Foundational Theoretical Framework in Disability Law and Policy (15 ECTS)

This course provides students with an in-depth examination of the core foundational themes in disability law and policy, including Philosophy and Models of Disability (e.g. Medical and Social Models), Principles and Obligations from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which should underpin all States Parties’ legislation (e.g. to have respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy etc.), Legal Capacity (e.g. supported vs. substituted decision making), models of supported living (e.g. personal assistance, group homes), the Evolution of Disability Law (e.g. roots of disability as a human rights concern), and Lifecourse Policy Issues on Disability.  This course will also aim to identify and examine the different sources relevant to disability law and policy, such as various hard and soft law, statutory instruments, empirical data etc. from international, regional (European), and national law.

LW484 Law, Regulation and Policy (5ECTS)

This foundation course will examine the role of law in the formulation and implementation of regulation and policy in various fields of public law. The role of law in facilitating activities, in providing a framework and structure within which they can operate, and in establishing a basis for regulatory norms and practices, will be discussed. The role of regulatory bodies in devising regulation (goal setting, establishing criteria, engaging in consultation processes etc.) and implementing it (monitoring, compliance, adjudicating, advocacy, etc.) will be considered, as will various forms of regulation (regulation, co-regulation, self- regulation, etc.). The focus of the course will range from national to European (EU and Council Of Europe) level and cover a variety of topics, for example law and governance in the context of the EU. Topics may vary from year to year.

Advocacy and Access to Justice (10 ECTS)

This module will address the broad scope of access to justice for people with disabilities (including access to information, and to the systems and procedures used in the administration of justice). It will highlight how people with disabilities experience barriers in accessing justice, and how these barriers can be redressed, through statutory advocacy services and other innovative rights-enforcement mechanisms.

LW   Regional Disability Law and Policy (10 ECTS)

This module will give an overview of various regional approaches to disability law and policy as a way of transposing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and as a way of stimulating region-wide reform.  While the main focus will be on European disability law & policy reform, (European Union, OECD, Council of Europe), the course will also address regional developments elsewhere such as those occurring in the Asia/Pacific region, the Organisation of American States (OAS), the African Union (AU).  Of particular focus will be development aid as a way of underpinning global change.  There will therefore be coverage of the World Bank  and its related activities.

LW   US Disability Law and Policy (10 ECTS)

This module will give an overview of the history, constitutional bases, legislation and policy designed for people with disabilities in the United States. It will cover the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Rehabilitation Act, eAccessibility, public procurement law and the operations of USAID.  It will survey the web of regulatory agencies and their remit as well as the caselaw under the relevant legislation.

LW   Irish Disability Law and Policy (10 ECTS)

This module will give an overview of the principles, legislation and policy designed for people with disabilities in Ireland, beginning with a historical overview of the social, cultural and political context within which the State responded to people with disabilities in Ireland.  Areas of focus will include the implementation and monitoring of the National Disability Strategy, the development of the Disability Act, A Vision for Change, and case law on the constitutional rights of persons with disabilities.

LW   Comparative Legal Capacity Law and Policy (10 ECTS)

The focus of this course is on international, regional and national law reform of legal capacity laws. Key issues will include supported decision making and the assessment of legal capacity

LW   Comparative Law and Policy on Independent Living (10 ECTS)

This will provide an introduction to law and policy relevant to independent living from a range of different jurisdictions, such as the legal basis concerning the right to independent living and personal assistance, different funding arrangements (direct payments, individual budgets), and the assessment, delivery, design and review of support services.

LW   Comparative Mental Health Law and Policy (10 ECTS)

The purpose of this course is to explore the key challenges facing mental health law and policy at the international, regional and national level. Based on the inherent equality of all persons, this course will examine the legitimacy of laws and policy priorities that effect the confinement and forcible treatment of persons from a civil and criminal law perspective

LW  Inclusive Education Law and Policy (10 ECTS)

The purpose of this course is to explore the key challenges facing the process of inclusive education reform that is underway worldwide as well as in Ireland.  Effectively, this is a law reform process that seeks to accommodate human difference within the education system, and is premised on the inherent equality of all persons and a rejection of the ’separate but equal’ segregationist doctrine.  This move towards mainstream education, to truly inclusive education is not without its critics, with some championing the necessity for separate provision in certain situations (e.g. deaf community, and parents of children with autism).

LW   Lifecourse issues on Disability Law and Policy  (10 ECTS)

This module will use a lifecourse approach as the key framework of reference for understanding existing vulnerabilities and inequalities in society, as experienced by people with disabilities. In so doing, it will examine the issues faced by people with disabilities in aspects of transition, including from education to work, from living at home or in care to independent living and issues affecting children and elderly people with disabilities.

LW   Contemporary Challenges in Disability Law and Policy (10 ECTS)

The aim of this course is to engage students in the very latest issues and themes of debate in the area of Disability Law and Policy.  This course will provide a forum for the discussion of current issues in Disability Law and Policy form the point of view of law, philosophy, economics and sociology from both a theoretical and practical perspectives.  Topics may include: Development Aid, Administration and Management of Disability, Aging and Disability and Family Support and Disability.  As the emphasis is on contemporary issues, precise themes addressed may vary from year to year.

LW Dissertation (30 ECTS)

This module represents the concerted piece of work that is submitted by a candidate at the end of the programme. It will consist of a detailed analysis of a specific issue determined by the candidate in conjunction with his/her supervisor.