6th International Disability Law Summer School, 16-20 June 2014

The faculty will include senior academics, practitioners, advocates and policy makers from around the world. Most speakers have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the Convention. Others are advocates for change and reform.

Magdi Birtha

Magdi is Marie Curie Research Fellow and PhD candidate at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at National University of Ireland, Galway. Magdi’s research in the frame of the DREAM project is focusing on the National and European Monitoring of the CRPD and civil society involvement. She will be researching the process of creating a self-sustaining triangular mechanism to promote, protect and monitor the implementation of the Convention by collecting promising international practices. She has a special focus on the active and effective involvement of persons with disabilities in policy and decision-making processes (Article 33.3 CRPD). She is following the implementation of the Convention at the EU level and aiming to provide recommendations by the end of her three years on ways of effective monitoring.
Previously Magdi worked on the implementation and monitoring mechanisms of the CRPD at EU level as a trainee at the Unit of Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the European Commission. In 2008-2010 she was Hungarian coordinator of the two years Grundtvig Multilateral EU project ’My Opinion My Vote’ focusing on the political participation and voting rights of persons with learning disabilities.
Magdi became dedicated to disability rights while working as a volunteer in a group home maintained by the Hungarian Down Foundation in Budapest between 2006 and 2008. Assisting the everyday life and building up personal relations with a number of persons with intellectual disabilities ensured her better understanding regarding the barriers they have to face in our society. She worked closely with a number of advocacy NGOs and DPOs raising awareness on the right to vote, organizing training sessions on citizenship and participation, and monitoring human rights in big institutions all around Hungary.

Andrea Coomber

Andrea Coomber is an Australian qualified lawyer, with a BA and LLB (Hons) from the University of Western Australia and an LLM (Dist.) from the London School of Economics.  After practicing as a discrimination lawyer in Australia, Andrea spent five years living and working in human rights in New Delhi, Geneva and Cairo.  Andrea joined INTERIGHTS in 2002, where she initiated the development of the organisation’s work on disability.  As the Senior Lawyer on the Equality Programme she advised and co-represented applicants before the European Court of Human Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the UN treaty bodies, and submitting briefs of amicus curiae, including in landmark European Court cases such as DH and Others v the Czech Republic, Nachova v Bulgaria andOpuz v Turkey.  Now the Legal Director, Andrea manages INTERIGHTS' legal team and is responsible for the development of strategy across the organisation.  Andrea sits on the litigation advisory bodies of a number of international human rights organizations and regularly lectures on international human rights law and equality in Europe and North America. Andrea has a particular interest in the human rights of persons with disabilities and in violence against women.  Andrea signs (BSL).

Neil Crowther

Mr. Crowther is an independent expert and consultant on equality and human rights with a particular interest in working to secure the rights of disabled people.
Neil provides services to a wide range of clients in the UK and internationally. Since establishing his Consulting company in July 2011, Neil has carried out work for many well known bodies and agencies including; The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, The European Commission, The Irish Equality Authority, University College London, NUI Galway, Citizens Advice and Disability Rights UK to name but a few.

Dr Amita Dhanda

Dr. Amita Dhanda is a Professor of Law and Head Centre for Disability Studies in NALSAR, University of Law, Hyderbad, India. Dr. Dhanda teaches Administrative Law, Law and Poverty, Law and Literature and Judicial Process.

Dr. Dhanda has published extensive works on the legal position of persons with mental disability. Her book ‘Legal Order and Mental Disorder’ which is based on the legal status of persons with mental illness, is leading the way in the field of disability law. She has aided the Government of India and the Supreme Court of India in researching legal and policy reform in the field of disability rights. She is currently assisting the Government of Gujarat in formulating a rights sensitive mental health law.  Her research and extensive knowledge in the area, has been utilized by national and international institutions such as; WHO, UNICEF, NHRC, NCW, NIMH.

Dr. Dhanda also actively engaged in the work of the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee negotiating the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Eilionóir Flynn

Eilionóir is Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy and Senior Lecturer with the School of Law.

Her interest in disability law stemmed from a broader interest in social justice and a recognition of the invisibility of people with disabilities at the time in broader human rights discourse. Her current passions in this field include assisted and supported decision-making, rights-enforcement mechanisms and access to justice.

Eilionóir is a graduate of University College Cork (BCL, 2006 and PhD, 2010) and has been working at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy since 2009. She was awarded an IRCHSS scholarship for her PhD thesis, which explored the potential of a right to advocacy to improve access to justice for people with disabilities and examined the implementation of this right in the domestic legal framework of Ireland and the Australian State of Victoria, using principles of international human rights law as a basis for reform. As part of her PhD research, she was an Honorary Visiting Fellow at La Trobe University, Melbourne, where she worked with Professor Lee Ann Basser and observed practice at the Office of the Public Advocate.

She joined the CDLP as a postdoctoral researcher for a project on National Disability Strategies. This project involved a comparative study of 11 National Disability Strategies worldwide (with a focus on Ireland’s National Disability Strategy 2004), and its key findings were a set of critical success factors which enable National Disability Strategies to become vehicles for the effective implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at domestic level. Eilionóir wrote a book based on this research for Cambridge University Press, entitled: From Rhetoric to Action: Implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, published in August 2011.

In May 2011, Eilionóir became the Senior Research Fellow in the CDLP and had responsibility for the Centre’s research programme and activities, as outlined in the Centre’s new Business Plan 2011-2014. Some of the research activities contained in this plan include research on legal capacity and supported decision making; independent living and individual budgets; financial independence, corporate culture and disability; and advocacy and access to justice.

In December 2013 Eilionóir was appointed Deputy Director of the Centre and Senior Lecturer in the School of Law.

Eilionóir is currently a member of the National Advocacy Service working group to develop a non-instructed advocacy policy, and is represented on the Regional Advisory Group for the Service (Region 5: West/North West). In her personal capacity, she is also an external member of the Human Rights Committee of the Brothers of Charity (Galway), which reviews any restrictions placed on the rights of people with disabilities who use these services.

Eilionóir is also a member of the Academic Network of European Disability experts Working Group to develop a monitoring tool for the European Union Disability Strategy 2010-2020. She is also a regular contributor to the Human Rights in Ireland blog and is co-editing the blog with Liam Thornton until September 2011.

Gábor Gambos

Gábor Gombos is a world renowned independent disability rights defender. A person with a psychosocial disability himself, Mr Gombos has been advocating for a just and inclusive world where all persons with disabilities enjoy all their human rights without any kind of discrimination.
Mr Gombos' work and activism over the past two-decades has ranged from grassroots peer support by users and survivors of psychiatry, through national, regional and international non-governmental organizations, up to the United Nations. He chaired the Hungarian Mental Health Interest Forum, the European Network of (ex-)Users and Survivors of Psychiatry and co-chaired the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry. He has been extensively consulted on the rights of persons with disabilities by the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the Council of Europe. Between 2003 and 2006 he actively contributed to the negotiations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Between 2004 and 2011 Mr Gombos was the Senior Advocacy Officer at the Mental Disability Advocacy Center.
His work in the field of disability and mental health rights has been recognized by the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary (2009). Mr Gombos is a Fellow of Ashoka Innovators for the Public (2001) and his activism was profiled in the Speak Truth to Power educational project by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (2000). He serves on the Advisory Board of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award.
Mr Gombos was appointed adjunct professor at NALSAR Law University in Hyderabad, India in August 2012 and at the NUI Galway, Centre for Disability Law and Policy in March 2013.
Until the end of 2012 Mr Gombos served as Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a body of independent experts, which monitors the implementation of the Disability Convention.

Piers Gooding

Piers Gooding is a Research Associate in the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway. Piers has submitted his doctoral thesis to the Centre for the Advancement of Law and Mental Health, School of Law, Monash University, Australia, and also recently served as Research Officer for the Australian Mental Health Commission. Pier’s work focuses on current and prospective legal capacity reform projects.

Professor Nora Ellen Groce (TBC)

Professor Groce is the Director and Leonard Cheshire Chair of the he Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre, based at University College London.
 Professor Groce is a medical anthropologist, working in the area of global health and international development with particular emphasis on cross-cultural systems of health care and health as a human rights issue. Her research interests include issues of disability in international health and development, violence as a global public health problem, equity in access to health care in ethnic, minority and rural communities and the integration of western and traditional health care systems.
Professor Groce regularly serves as an advisor to United Nations (UN) agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, UNFPA and a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and disabled people’s organizations (DPOs). She has published widely on both research and policy initiatives and has serves as editor and reviewer for a number of leading journals.
Prior to coming to UCL, Professor Groce was a Research Scientist at Harvard University (1986-1990) and Associate Professor in Global Health at Yale University and Director of the Yale/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre (1991-2008).

Professor Rosemary Kayess

Rosemary Kayess has extensive disability policy experience. She has held ministerial advisory roles with both the state and federal government on disability and carer issues and was the external expert on the Australian Government delegation to the United Nations negotiations for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Rosemary has had extensive research experience working and advising on a variety of social research projects including access to justice, human rights and disability, guardianship, young people in nursing homes.
Her research areas include Access to justice; Human rights and disability; Guardianship; Young people in nursing homes.

Anna Arstein Kerslake

Before beginning work as a DREAM researcher, she worked on disability rights issues in the Brussels office of Human Rights Watch.  Her training in human rights comes from her year as a student attorney in the International Women’s Human Rights (IWHR) Clinic at CUNY School of Law, and her course work at University College London (UCL), where she spent a semester studying EU Law and Human Rights Law.   From 2008-2010 she sat on the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY) Committee on Legal Issues Affecting People with Disabilities, where she participated in awareness raising of the UN CRPD and organized a panel discussion on domestic violence as is affects people with disabilities.  Anna has also completed internships at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR), New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), the United Kingdom Ministry of Justice Human Rights Division, and Comité Español de Representantes de Personas con Discapacidad (CERMI).
Anna has held a variety of positions in the field of disability rights, ranging from Community Support Service Provider to Human Rights Researcher.  She has experience in several areas, including domestic violence issues, discrimination law, international human rights law, and disability rights law.

James Kingston
(Bio TBC)

Anna Lawson

Anna Lawson is a senior Law Lecturer at the University of Leeds and a member of the University’s Centre for Disability Studies. Her interests focus (both nationally and internationally) on disability equality, non-discrimination and human rights law. She currently teaches land law and discrimination law at undergraduate level and she teaches disability rights and law, EU discrimination law and land law at postgraduate level.
Since 2001, Anna has worked closely with the UK’s Disability Rights Commission and co-edited a book with its special advisor Caroline Gooding entitled “Disability Law in Europe” Ms. Lawson has also acted as a disability law expert in a number of EU funded research projects.
Anna who became disabled at the age of seven, has played an active role in the work of various disability-related NGO’s since she was eighteen, particularly those concerned with visual impairments. She has acted as a trustee for a number of NGO’s at local level. Since 2006 she has been a trustee of the Royal National Institute of the Blind.

Janet E. Lord (TBC)

Janet E. Lord is an international disability rights lawyer who is currently senior research associate at the Harvard Law School Project on Disability and senior partner at BlueLaw International, LLP, an international law and development firm where she directs the human rights and disability inclusive development practice.
She participated in all of the negotiating sessions during the drafting of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, serving as legal advisor to Disabled Peoples’ International, several lead governments and as technical expert to the United Nations. She has designed, managed, and implemented projects addressing disability law and policy in more than 30 countries worldwide. She consults regularly for a variety of international organizations, including the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Disability Programme, UNDP, USAID, the EU, GTZ, the World Bank, CARE, Chemonics International, Disabled Peoples’ International, Handicap International France, and the International Foundation for Election Systems. She has published widely in the area of human rights, international disability law and inclusive development. She is adjunct professor of law at American University, School of International, Service, and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. She holds degrees from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), George Washington University Law School and Kenyon College.

Justice John Mac Menamin

Mr. Justice MacMenamin is a judge of the Supreme Court of Ireland. He was educated at University College Dublin and the King's Inns. He was called to the Bar in 1975 and became a Senior Counsel in 1991. He was Chairman of the Bar Council from 1997 to 1999. He had a mixed practice, with an emphasis on commerce, insurance and defamation. He represented the Sunday Independent in the Proinsias De Rossa libel trial and was legal adviser to the Irish Medical Council and on the VHI board.
Mr. Justice MacMenamin was appointed a Judge of the High Court in 2004. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in February 2012

Donnacha O’ Connell

Donncha O'Connell is Head of  School of Law, NUI Galway. He teaches Constitutional Law and European Human Rights on undergraduate programmes and Processes of Law Reform and Advocacy, Activism & Public Interest Law on the LL.M in Public Law. He was Dean of the Faculty of Law at NUI Galway from 2005 to 2008 prior to the establishment of the College of Business, Public Policy & Law.
He is a Commissioner (part-time) of the Law Reform Commission having been appointed by the government on the nomination of Attorney General, Máire Whelan, SC, in 2012. He is also a member of the Legal Aid Board.
Donncha is the founder and editor of the Irish Human Rights Law Review, an edited collection published annually by Clarus Press, and the Ireland Correspondent for the International Survey section of the journal, Public Law.

Prof. Gerard Quinn

Gerard Quinn is the Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the NUI Galway School of Law. Called to the Irish Bar in 1983, he holds a masters (LL.M.) and doctorate in law (S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School. 

His specialization is international and comparative disability law and policy.

He is a member of the Irish Human Rights Commission and helps co-ordinate the work of National Human Rights Institutions worldwide on disability issues.
He led the delegation of Rehabilitation International (RI) during the UN Working Group that elaborated the basis for the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

He has worked in the European Commission (as a civil servant), and held a number of posts such as Director of Research for the Irish Government’s Law Reform Commission and Vice President of the European Committee of Social Rights (Council of Europe).  He sits on various advisory boards dealing with disability law and policy issues such as the Commonwealth Secretariat, SOROS-OSI (Washington, DC), Disability Rights Fund (Boston, MA), European Foundation Centre Consortium on Disability(Brussels), European Coalition for Community Living (London), Interights (London).

In January 2012 President Michael D. Higgins appointed Professor Quinn to the Republic of Ireland’s Council of State.

Meredith Raley

Meredith received a B.A. in Political Science from the College of Charleston in 2007, and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law in 2010. She is currently a Ph.D. Student at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Meredith’s thesis is on Article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Article 33 focuses on the domestic implementation of the rights enshrined in the Convention, and is an innovation not only in the field of disability law, but in human rights law in general. Article 33 makes the CRPD the first human rights convention to require states take a particular approach in implementation of a treaty. Meredith’s research focuses on how this article affects implementation and the best practices in establishing and making use of the framework required by Article 33.

Dr. Lucy Series

Dr. Series is a Research Associate at Cardiff Law School in Wales. She is currently working with Professor Phil Fennell, Professor Luke Clements and Dr. Julie Doughty on a project funded by the Nuffield Foundation looking at welfare cases in the Court of Protection.

Her research interests include, legal capacity, disability rights and community care law. Her PhD research at Exeter University examined the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the deprivation of liberty safeguards using republican theory.

Dr. Series has also worked at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway on projects relating to legal capacity, access to justice and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

She also writes a blog about her research called ‘The Small Places’ and has written articles for well known publications including The Guardian, Community Care, Local Government Lawyer, The UK Human Rights Blog and the Mind Legal Newsletter.

Donal Toolan

Donal Toolan is a writer, actor and journalist who is currently working as Director of the Forum for People with Disabilities which was founded in May 1990. The Forums work can be summarized in three words: Identity, Rights and Choice. The first campaign the Forum ran was based on the most basic of all civil rights; the right to vote.

Mr. Toolans work as a journalist and writer has always sought to highlight the inequalities that disabled people face on a daily basis. He is a member of the advisory group who sought to progress a rights based legislation for disabled people in Ireland. He is also involved with a variety of organisations interested in development of human rights in Ireland including the UN Association Service and the European Anti Poverty Network.

Rannveig Traustadottir

Rannveig Traustadóttir, PhD, is Professor and Director of the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Iceland. Much of her research in Disability Studies has examined the intersection of disability and gender, as well as other categories of inequality, such as social class, ethnicity, age and sexuality, and how these create multiple layers of discrimination and social exclusion in disabled people’s lives. Her current research projects are on childhood disability, poverty, social policy and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She has been one of the leaders in developing Disability Studies as a scholarly field in the Nordic countries and was the president of NNDR, The Nordic Network on Disability Research, for seven years (2000-2007). She has published 12 books and numerous articles on disability, gender, policy, family, deinstitutionalization and qualitative research methods.

Duncan Wilson

Duncan Wilson is the Head of Strategy and Legal at the Scottish Human Rights Commission. He graduated with a degree in Law from the University of Edinburgh and he completed a Masters in International Human Rights Law from Lund University.
He was a part-time lecturer with the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex and a member of the Steering Committee on the Rights to Education Project. He is also a long-standing collaborator in the Jean Picet Competition on International Humanitarian Law.
Before joining the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Duncan was the Head of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights team at Amnesty International. He has also worked for several international bodies, and was the research coordinator for the first UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education
Mr. Wilson has also authored numerous articles, reports and manuals on human rights including Amnesty International, Human Rights for Human Dignity: a primer on economic, social and cultural rights.