The Oxford University Disability Law and Policy Project and the Faculty of Law invite submissions to the 42 Bedford Row Disability Essay Prize 2018

The 42 Bedford Row Disability Law Essay Prize is the first academic writing award to be established by the Oxford Faculty of Law which focuses on legal issues affecting persons with a disability. It has been established to draw attention to the professional challenges faced by legal practitioners and academics who work in fields in which issues relating to disability frequently arise. The deadline for submission is: noon on Friday 27th April 2018 (First Week of Trinity Term). The first place winner will be awarded £500 at a prize-giving ceremony and drinks event, which will be held on Friday 4th May 2018 at 5.00pm.

2018 Essay Topic

Each year the 42 Bedford Row Disability Law Essay Prize focuses on issues affecting people with a disability and the way in which these issues interact with the law. This year essays are invited to consider the intersect between gender and disability discrimination.

The most “pressing issues faced by disabled women are the ones faced by most women, except that when you’re disabled, it adds another layer of discrimination,” said Eleanor Lisney, co-founder of the disabled women’s network, Sisters of Frida.

The recent Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the initial report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, found that ‘the rights of women and girls with disabilities have not been systematically mainstreamed into both the gender equality and disability agenda’ in the UK (October 2017; para 18). The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities does protect against multiple discrimination, for instance, Article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, on women with disabilities, provides that:

  1. ‘States Parties recognize that women and girls with disabilities are subject to multiple discrimination, and in this regard shall take measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by them of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.'
  2. 'States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure the full development, advancement and empowerment of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the present Convention'.

In the UK, one model which attempts to protect these important intersectional groups is Section 14 of the Equality Act 2010, which is designed to allow claims for discrimination based on more than one protected characteristic. It has not been brought into force in the 8 years since the passing of the Act.

2018 Essay Question: How should the law protect against discrimination at the intersection of disability and other protected characteristics, including gender?

Participants in this competition will have the chance to:

  • Showcase their academic writing and argument to our distinguished judges including, Aysha Ahmad, leading discrimination law barrister at 42 Bedford Row (confirmed), and a leading academic from the Faculty of Law (tbc)
  • Win a cash prize of £500 (First Place)
  • Win a cash prize of £200 (Second Place)
  • Win a cash prize of £100 (Third Place)
  • Attend the drinks reception following the essay prize-giving ceremony at which they will have the opportunity to meet experienced barristers and solicitors. 

Please follow the guidelines for submission