“He got down on one knee”: intellectual disability, intimacy and family law

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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This chapter draws on interviews with intellectually disabled people about their experiences of everyday legally relevant decision-making to explore the multiple sociolegal dimensions of decision-making around intimate relationships and marriage by intellectually disabled people (here understood to include people with learning disabilities, brain injuries and other cognitive impairments). After a brief introduction and methodological note, I contrast legal responses to sexual relations, marriage and divorce with disabled people’s stories about how these things have influenced their lives. Through this analysis, I challenge the construction of disabled people as vulnerable subjects, to be protected by and through family law. Instead, I argue for accessible family law frameworks that allow disabled people to enjoy their legal rights, relationships and family lives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDisability, Care and Family Law
EditorsBeverley Clough, Jonathan Herring
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780429328015, 9781000375114
ISBN (Print)9780367232085
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 selection and editorial matter, Beverley Clough and Jonathan Herring; individual chapters, the contributors.


  • Disability
  • Divorce
  • Marriage
  • Sexual Relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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