The Voices of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self-determination (VOICES) project aims to change the law in relation to the right to legal capacity for people with disabilities. The project is based at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway under Dr. Eilionóir Flynn.
The right to legal capacity in its most basic form is the right to make decisions which have legal consequences and to have those decisions respected by the law. This project is taking an innovative approach to legal capacity law reform by publishing the stories of those with lived experience of disability and pairing them with legal or social sciences scholars to develop grounded ideas for legal reform.
After the project’s first workshop in April 2016 16 storytellers and 16 respondents were selected and paired up to work together in the project. These pairs have worked together since to produce a chapter which will be published in a book by Routledge in late 2018. The book, and the project as a whole, is structured across 4 thematic areas – criminal responsibility, contractual capacity, consent to medical treatment, and consent to sex and relationships. From September 2016 until September 2017 the project held 2 day workshops across these themes.