ESRC/Cerebra 1+3 Studentship: Legal Entitlements Research Project (PhD Studentship)

Cerebra and the ESRC are jointly funding a PhD at Cardiff Law School, supervised by Professor Luke Clements.  More information is available on the website.

Awarding bodies: The project is co-funded by Cerebra and by the ESRC. Founded in 2001, Cerebra is a unique international charity that strives to improve the lives of children with brain-related neurological conditions, through research, education and direct, ongoing support. Cerebra’s 50% funding of this research project is part of its wider financial commitment to support the School’s pro bono law clinic.

Project objectives and focus: The law places enforceable duties on public bodies to provide education/health/social care support services for disabled children. Service implementation/delivery differs in Wales and England. Research points to the: difficulties of disabled children and their families in accessing these rights; ‘power imbalance’ between public bodies and individuals; fear families have ‘of the consequences’ of making representations. Professor Clements’ research has identified nine key barriers to rights access (inter-authority/department disputes, misunderstandings of law, problems of resources, further-up-the-line barriers, too-difficult-to-think-about, excessive workloads, power vacuums, personalities, highly-contested-fact dispute) around which the Law School has developed a pro-bono scheme whereby students provide practical advice to children/families. Within this scheme, participants complete documentation designed to capture quantitative data concerning the child’s disability, family circumstance, problem issue, character of the relevant public body and effectiveness of the problem-solving process.

Project Title: ESRC 1+3 Studentship in comparative legal analysis of the barriers faced by disabled children and their families in accessing health and social care services in England and Wales

The PhD has two major elements:

  1. A comparative legal analysis of the implications of different implementation and delivery systems for key services in Wales and England for the enforceable duties of Public Bodies addresses research questions about the extent/significance of legal divergence.
  2. Quantitative analysis of the bespoke project data will model the effectiveness of problem-solving in the different situations, including, inter alia between Wales and England.
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