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The ‘madness’ of accessing justice: legal mobilisation, welfare benefits and empowerment

Vanhala, L; Kinghan, J; (2022) The ‘madness’ of accessing justice: legal mobilisation, welfare benefits and empowerment. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law pp. 1-20. 10.1080/09649069.2022.2028407. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

This article explores a paradigmatic case of legal mobilisation in the UK: successful litigation taken by RF, an anonymous claimant, against the Department of Work and Pensions’ cuts to disability mobility benefits for those facing ‘psychological distress’. While there is now a flourishing literature on the mobilisation of disability rights around the world, socio-legal scholarship has tended to overlook the mobilisation of law by those experiencing mental ill health or the potential contributions of adoption a social model of madness, mental distress and confusion. In developing a ‘thick description’ of the litigation process in the RF case, the article inductively identifies important lessons for scholars of legal consciousness and legal mobilisation. It showcases how the litigation process has both oppressive and empowering potential for those who are otherwise subject to systemic oppression by mental health and welfare benefit services. Second, it broadens the empirical literature on disability legal mobilisation which has largely overlooked the mobilisation of law by mental health service users and psychiatric survivors beyond issues related to psychiatric interventions, institutionalisation and detention.

Type: Article
Title: The ‘madness’ of accessing justice: legal mobilisation, welfare benefits and empowerment
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/09649069.2022.2028407
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/09649069.2022.2028407
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Access to justice, legal mobilisation, mental health, disability, welfare benefits
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10144620
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