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

Vanhala, L. and Kinghan, J. (2022) The ‘madness’ of accessing justice: legal mobilisation, welfare benefits and empowerment. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 44(1), pp. 22-41. (doi: 10.1080/09649069.2022.2028407)

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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.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kinghan, Professor Jacqueline
Authors: Vanhala, L., and Kinghan, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law
ISSN (Online):1469-9621
Published Online:16 February 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Author(s)
First Published:First published in Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 44(1): 22-41
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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