Law in Context Special Issue: Disability, Rights and Law Reform in Australia – Call For Papers

Law in Context Special Issue:

Disability, Rights and Law Reform in Australia – Recent Trends

To be published in 2017

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (‘the Disability Convention’) which entered into force in May 2008 has introduced a change in understandings of disability rights. The Disability Convention has the potential to bring about profound and radical changes to human rights which have historically been denied to people with disability by reason of systemic barriers, discriminatory attitudes and laws. These international human rights developments have unfolded alongside a growing awareness in Australian domestic law reform of barriers to equal justice and other legal issues confronting people with disability. The past decade in Australia has witnessed a variety of law reform activities, senate inquiries and other reviews and reports which have examined various laws relevant to people with disability, including restrictive practices, criminal law, and civil mental health law. Running alongside the international disability rights developments has been the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme which is one of the biggest social policy changes in Australia of the past 10 years and seems to have developed independently of the Disability Convention. As such, it seems timely to question the place of the Disability Convention in Australian law.

This special issue of Law in Context provides a forum for critical analysis and reflection on the impact on Australian law of advancements in international human rights law related to disability. Australian law is interpreted broadly to include legislation, judicial decision-making, the administration of law (for example, by police), law reform, policy development and disability rights advocacy. While there is a growing body of literature about the Disability Convention as a body of international human rights law, there has been little discussion about the interface of the Disability Convention and Australian domestic law across the complex range of legal and social issues confronting people with disability, and in the context of broader contemporary Australian issues such as welfare reform, austerity politics, Indigenous issues and immigration policies.

We are interested in articles from a wide range of disciplinary approaches which critically examine the relationships between international human rights and Australian law reform in relation to people with disability. Possible topics to be explored include:

  • Disability rights advocacy and domestic law reform
  • Legal capacity and law reform
  • Prisoners and/or offenders with disability
  • Indigenous Australians with disability and criminal law reform
  • Disability and violence
  • Disability and family law
  • Disability, migration and refugees
  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • Research and clinical ethics practices and disability rights
  • Disability discrimination law
  • Disability and education
  • Mental health and guardianship law and policy
  • Access to justice measures
  • Supported decision-making in law and policy
  • Critiques of the human rights model of disability

Guest Editors: Associate Professor Lee Ann Basser (La Trobe Law School, La Trobe University), Dr Linda Steele (School of Law and Legal Intersections Research Centre, University of Wollongong) & Piers Gooding (Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne)

Please submit an abstract of 300 words by 1 February 2016 to all three editors:;;

If invited, a full paper of between 7,000 – 9,000 words (including footnotes) will be due by 2 May 2016. All articles will be subject to a blind refereeing process. Authors are welcome to contact the editors with any questions or to discuss their proposed topic.


La Trobe