LLS Staff Seminar #9: Defining Legal Capacity in Light of Article 12 CRPD: What is and what isn’t an exercise of legal capacity?

In the ninth La Trobe Law School Staff Seminar for 2015, Dr Anna Arstein-Kerslake, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, will discuss the boundaries of legal capacity and its relevance for The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) includes a right to legal capacity on an equal basis (Article 12). Much has been written about the serious implications that this has for mental health law, guardianship law, and other areas of the law that deny legal capacity on the basis of disability. However, little has been written on what is and what is not an exercise of ‘legal capacity’. This presentation explores the boundaries of legal capacity and discusses the relevance of this for the rights enshrined in Article 12 CRPD.


Dr. Anna Arstein-Kerslake is a lecturer in the Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne and the Academic Co-ordinator of the Disability Research Initiative (DRI). She has developed and co-ordinates the Disability Human Rights Clinic (DHRC) at Melbourne Law School. She holds a Ph.D. in Law from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), a J.D. from the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law and a B.A. in Sociology from San Diego State University (SDSU). Prior to joining Melbourne University, she held a Marie Curie Research Fellowship at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP) at (NUIG). She also provided support to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on a general comment on the right to equal recognition before the law. She has participated widely in consultation with governments and other bodies, including: the United Kingdom Ministry of Justice, the Irish Ministry of Justice, Amnesty Ireland, Interights, the Mental Disability Advocacy Center, among others. Anna has worked as a human rights advocate on a number of different projects, including legislative drafting, strategic litigation, policy development, scholarly work, and others.

Anna’s research focuses on the human rights of persons with disabilities. Her published work focuses specifically on the rights to equal recognition before the law and legal capacity. She is also interested in the development of clinical legal education as a tool for social change.


Date: Wednesday 2 September

Time: 12.45am to 2.00pm

Venue: ED2 318, Education Boardroom

Cost: Free

RVSP: Registration is required on Eventbrite


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