School of Law

Professor Anna Lawson

Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Disability Studies

I work in the Law School, where I am co-ordinator of the Disability Law Hub (whose home is in the Centre for Law and Social Justice).  I am also the director of the University-wide interdisciplinary Centre for Disability Studies. I have played lead roles in a range of interdisciplinary national and multinational research projects, eg for NHS England, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and the European commission. I have delivered papers in over 30 countries and regularly advise national and international organisations on disability issues.

In July 2016, I was appointed as an Adjunct Member to the Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies at York University (Toronto, Canada)

Outside academia, I currently work with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (as a member of the statutory Disability Committee for England, Scotland and Wales), China Vision (to which I am an advisor) and Justice (of which I am a Council member).

Research Interests

My research focuses on disability equality and human rights at the UN, European and domestic level. I am particularly interested in the opportunities for change created by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in accessibility, reasonable accommodation and equality, in access to justice and  the disabling and enabling potential of law.

Professor Anna Lawson speaks to Professor Adam Crawford about her research as part of a series of shorts captured by the Leeds Social Sciences Institute (LSSI).


I teach in the areas of international human rights, European human rights, discrimination and disability law.

PhD Supervision

I welcome enquiries from students about PhDs or Masters by Research on subjects falling within the broad scope of my research interests, set out above. I also enjoy co-supervising with colleagues from other disciplines and welcome interdisciplinary proposals.

Key Publications


  • Waddington L, Lawson A, The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Practice A Comparative Analysis of the Role of Courts (Oxford University Press, 2018)

    This volume is a vital and thought-provoking addition to the literature.

  • European Union Non-Discrimination Law and Intersectionality: investigating the triangle of racial, gender and disability discrimination, ed. by Schiek D and Lawson A (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011)

    This book contributes to a critical reflection of current legislative and jurisprudential developments in Non-Discrimination Law, focusing on the European Union. The book is focused on intersectionality between gender, race and disability and the question of whether, and to what extent, this intersection can be adequately addressed in (EU) law. The discussion rests on two basic assumptions. First, the multiplication of 'discrimination grounds' in EU law and other legal regimes should not result in a dilution of the demands of equality law. Accordingly, the book focuses on the three key grounds - race, gender and disability. These constitute nodes around which other discrimination grounds can be grouped. Second, any multi-ground non-discrimination law framework needs to engage with the question of discrimination on several grounds. This book provides a critical evaluation of some of the problems presented by such intersectionality and an opportunity to explore the issues in depth. This collection offers some new proposals relating to the regrouping of identity categories and to the general approach to socio-legal research in the field. It also contains a comparative section, which expands on practical experiences with intersectionality and law, and a section dedicated to juridical responses to intersectionality. The book will be a valuable resource for researchers, academics and those working in the area of EU non-discrimination law and policy.

  • Lawson A, Disability and Equality Law in Britain: The Role of Reasonable Adjustment (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2008)

  • Lawson AMM, Gooding C, Disability Rights in Europe: From Theory to Practice (Hart, 2005), 1, 320p

Journal articles

  • Lawson AMM, ‘Accessibility Obligations in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Nyusti and Takacs v Hungary’, South African Journal on Human Rights, 30.2 (2014), 380-392

  • Lawson AMM, Flynn E, ‘Disability and Access to Justice in the European Union: Implications of the United nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’, Yearbook of European Disability Law, ed. by Waddington L, Quinn G and Flynn E, 4 (2013), 7-44

  • Lawson AMM, Priestley M, ‘Potential, principle and pragmatism in concurrent multinational monitoring: disability rights in the European Union’, The International Journal of Human Rights, 17.7-8 (2013), 739-757
    DOI: 10.1080/13642987.2013.834494, Repository URL:

    This article responds to some of the limitations of traditional human rights monitoring systems by identifying the potential for more dynamic methods of recording and reporting rights-based evidence. The article distinguishes between ‘consecutive’ and ‘concurrent’ models of monitoring and between hierarchical and non-hierarchical monitoring systems. Using the example of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a principled framework for systems development in this field is outlined. The practical contingencies of designing and implementing new monitoring tools across 34 European countries are then reviewed. The article concludes that more flexible and dynamic reporting tools can help to make states more accountable for the implementation of their human rights obligations and facilitate policy exchange and the sharing of good practice. Recent developments within the European Union disability field offer potential for adaptation to other human rights fields and to other regions of the world.

  • Lawson AMM, ‘Disability and Employment in the Equality Act 2010: Opportunities Seized, Lost and Generated’, Industrial Law Journal, 40.4 (2011), 359-383

    This article critically evaluates employment-related changes made by the Equality Act 2010 from a disability perspective. It identifies opportunities to enhance disability equality which were seized as well as those which were missed. Where relevant, these are held up for scrutiny through the lens of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, by which the UK is now bound. Two respects in which the Equality Act may fall short of that Convention’s demands are identified. In addition, the article draws attention to equality measures in the Act which are specific to disability. It is suggested that, by including these measures and highlighting their disability-specific application, the Act has generated fresh opportunities to open debate about whether such measures should be extended to other protected characteristics.


  • Lawson AMM, ‘Reasonable Accommodation in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Non-Discrimination in Employment: Rising to the Challenges?’, in Disability Law and Policy: An Analysis of the UN Convention, ed. by O’Mahony C and Quinn G (Clarus Press, 2017)
    Repository URL:

  • Lawson A, ‘The European Union and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Complexities, Challenges and Opportunities’, in The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Commentary, ed. by Della Fina V, Cera R and Palmisano G (Springer International Publishing, 2017), 61-76
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-43790-3, Repository URL:

  • Lawson AMM, ‘Disabled People and Access to Justice: From Disablement to Enablement?’, in Routledge Handbook of Disability Law and Human Rights, ed. by Blanck P and Flynn E (Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2016)
    Repository URL:

  • Lawson AMM, ‘Disability and Employment in the European Union: Collective Strategies and Tools’, in Disability and Equity at Work, ed. by Heymann J, Stein MA and Moreno G (Oxford Universty Press, 2014)

  • Lawson AMM, ‘Securing Rights to Reasonable Accommodation under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Role for Disability Studies?’, in Tutela Della Persona e Disability Studies, ed. by Marra A (Falzea Editore, 2013)

  • Lawson AMM, ‘Challenging Disabling Barriers to Information and Communication Technology in the Information Society: A United Kingdom Perspective’, in Disability and Equality Law, ed. by Emens E and Stein M (Ashgate, 2013)

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