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In a bid to promote consensus, this response article parses the subtle difference of meaning and emphasis that subsists between the various proponents of the new paradigm of legal capacity by closely reading four articles included in this issue of the Journal.
Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has created a revolution in legal-capacity law reform. It protects the right to exercise legal agency for people with disabilities with more clarity than any prior human rights instrument. This paper explores what constitutes an exercise of legal agency and what exactly Article 12 protects. It proposes a definition of legal agency and applies it to the lived experience of cognitive disability. It also uses a republican theory of domination to argue that people with cognitive disabilities who are experiencing domination are forced to assert legal agency in even daily decision-making because of the high level of external regulation of their lives and the ever-present threat of others substituting their decision-making. It identifies Article 12 as a tool for protecting such exertions of legal agency and curtailing relationships of domination.
This reflection responds primarily to the papers on legal agency and state intervention, with brief comments on the two other papers. The concept of transformative equality, developed in jurisprudence under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), can promote a deeper understanding of the rights of persons with disabilities.1 In particular, it is useful to address power relations between disabled and non-disabled persons not only with respect to family members and medical professionals, but also in the institutions of law and the state.
People with disabilities continue to experience a disproportionately high level of state intervention in their private lives. Many disabled people's organisations have long sought to challenge this discriminatory approach and, in recent times, have relied upon the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in support of their claims. In this paper, we argue for the abolition of disability-specific legal bases for state intervention in the private lives of adults. We also argue for the introduction of a narrower disability-neutral legislative framework for state intervention in the lives of all adults – based on risk of imminent and serious harm to the individual's life, health or safety, while providing greater respect for the person's legal capacity as expressed through her will and preferences.
In this paper, we seek to radically reframe the legal construct of consent from a disability perspective. Drawing on feminist scholarship and human rights standards around ‘free and informed consent’, we apply a concept of freedom to negotiate to laws regulating both consent to sex and medical treatment – key areas in which the legal agency of people with disabilities (especially people with cognitive disabilities) is routinely denied, restricted or ignored. We set out the essential ingredients for reframing consent: namely, legal personhood, freedom to negotiate and understanding. We also outline conditions (i.e. coercion, undue influence and power imbalances) that impede valid consent. This represents a first attempt to move beyond labelling adults with certain disabilities as lacking the ‘mental capacity’ necessary to give valid consent – in order to explore in more depth particular expressions of consent or refusal and seek new validity criteria, beyond the label of ‘mental incapacity’.
The endeavour to take jurisprudence seriously is addressed by Baghai, a sociologist, to those within her own discipline who fail to engage with the internal understandings of law, most particularly those exhibited within the discourse that accompanies appeal court decisions, namely the discourse that helps to establish and develop legal doctrine. In effect, the book is an appeal for sociologists to assign greater attention to legal doctrine as an object of study. But such an appeal can also be interpreted as a request for theorists who study legal doctrine to take sociology seriously – namely an invitation to legal theorists to bring sociology, or at least one version of it, to bear on their study of the evolution of doctrine. This proposal faces considerable resistance from those on both sides of this divide. Whilst Hart notoriously described The Concept of Law as an essay in both analytical jurisprudence and descriptive sociology, the analytic tradition that he sponsored has sought to augment its academic credentials by moving ever closer to philosophy rather than sociology. With the important exception of Brian Leiter's arguments for ‘naturalising jurisprudence’, the general drift of analytical jurisprudence has been towards a prioritising of philosophical methods over empirical insights. And the resistance to some rapprochement has not been limited to the philosophical side of the divide. The sociology of law has a long tradition of approaching the study of law in a manner that distances itself from the self-understandings of participants in the legal system (lawyers and especially judges). This transfers in turn into hostility towards the manner in which legal philosophy has engaged with those self-understandings, with its willingness to consider, at high levels of abstraction, whether law consists of rules, norms or principles. Rather than organising insiders' views into conceptual schemes, and then examining them for their coherence and consistency, legal sociology has generated its own facts and truths about laws and lawyers, principally using empirical methods (but also other methods) and contrasting these ‘truths’ with lawyer's self-understandings, treating the latter as an inferior form of knowledge either disconnected from reality or ideological rather than descriptive. It has also noticeably failed to engage with much of the central concern of legal philosophy – the attempt to identify law as a separate entity within society. Rather than considering the existence of law as a unity, it focuses instead on parts of law as examples of more general sociological categories, such as studying the legal profession within the sociology of professions or courts, legislatures and administrative agencies within the sociology of institutions or organisations.
This paper aims to summarise the current understanding and literature around Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It provides a brief history of the key terms associated with the right to equal recognition before the law and encompasses both academic writing in this area and General Comment No. 1 from the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The content is intended to provide readers of this Special Issue with a general understanding of developments surrounding Article 12 so they can fully engage with the other papers within this Special Issue and with the content of the Voices of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self-determination (VOICES) project as a whole.
A comparative study of the effect of dietary nitrogen (N) content [Low: 11·0; Medium-Low (MLow): 16·7; Medium-High (Mhigh): 23·1; High: 29·2 N g/kg dry matter (DM)] on apparent digestibilities, rumen fermentation and N balance was conducted in coarse wool Tibetan sheep and Gansu Alpine fine-wool sheep at Wushaoling in the northeast of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. It was hypothesized that responses would differ between breeds and that responses would favour Tibetan over fine-wool sheep at low N intakes. Eight wethers [four Tibetan sheep and four fine-wool sheep, 20–24 months old; body weight ± standard deviation was 52 ± 3·2 kg] were used in two concurrent 4 × 4 Latin square designs. Dry matter, organic matter, neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre digestibilities were higher in Tibetan than fine-wool sheep when fed the Low, MLow and High N diets while N retention was higher when the animals were fed the Low and MLow N diets. Tibetan sheep had a higher rumen pH than fine-wool sheep; however, total volatile fatty acids were similar between breeds. Molar proportions of acetate were higher but propionate and butyrate lower in Tibetan than fine-wool sheep. In addition, Tibetan sheep had higher concentrations of ruminal free amino acid-N and soluble protein-N than fine-wool sheep. Plasma and saliva urea-N concentrations were higher in Tibetan than fine-wool sheep when supplied with the Low N diet. It was concluded that Tibetan sheep were better able to cope with low N feed than fine-wool sheep because of the higher N retention and higher DM and fibre digestibilities with Low and MLow diets.
The use of high-speed detectors made X-ray diffraction (XRD) become an important tool for process control in mining and metal industries. Decreasing ore qualities and increasing prices for raw materials require a better control of processed ore and a more efficient use of energy. Traditionally quality control of iron ore sinter has relied on time-consuming wet chemistry. The mineralogical composition that defines the physical properties such as hardness or reducibility is not monitored. XRD analysis in combination with Rietveld quantification and statistical data evaluation using partial least-squares regression (PLSR) has been successfully established to determine the mineralogical composition and the Fe2+ content of iron ore sinter within an analysis time of less than 10 min per sample. A total of 35 iron ore sinter samples were measured and evaluated using PLSR and the Rietveld method. The results were compared with wet chemistry data. PLSR results show accuracy for the Fe2+ content of ±0.14%. No pure phases, crystal structures, or complex modeling of peak shapes are required. The Rietveld method was used to quantify the total phase composition of the samples. The Fe2+ content could be calculated from all phases present. Both methods take the full XRD pattern into account and can be simultaneously applied on the same measurement. PLSR was found to be the more robust method if only Fe2+ results are required. The Rietveld method helps predict other parameters such as the compressional strength of the sinter by monitoring all existing phases (e.g., larnite, C2S, or silico-ferrite of calcium and aluminum phases).
HighScore with the Plus option (HighScore Plus) is the commercial powder diffraction analysis software from PANalytical. It has been in constant development over the last 13 years and has evolved into a very complete and mature product. In this paper, we present a brief overview of the suite focusing on the latest additions and its user-friendliness. The introduction briefly touches some basic ideas behind HighScore and the Plus option.
We investigated offspring quality in fleas (Xenopsylla ramesis) feeding on non-reproducing, pregnant or lactating rodents (Meriones crassus) and asked whether (a) quality of flea offspring differs dependent on host reproductive status; (b) fleas trade off offspring quantity for quality; and (c) quality variables are inter-correlated. Emergence success was highest when parents exploited pregnant hosts, while development time was longest when parents exploited lactating hosts. Male offspring from fleas fed on non-reproductive and pregnant hosts were larger than those from lactating hosts whereas female offspring from fleas fed on pregnant hosts were larger than those from both lactating and non-reproductive hosts. Male offspring survived under starvation the longest when their parents exploited lactating hosts and the shortest when their parents exploited pregnant hosts. Female offspring of parents that exploited lactating hosts survived under starvation longer than those that exploited non-reproductive and pregnant hosts. Emergence success and development time decreased as mean number of eggs laid by mothers increased. Fleas that were larger and took longer to develop lived significantly longer under starvation. These results indicate the presence of a trade-off between offspring quantity and quality in fleas exploiting female Sundevall's jird in varying reproductive condition but this trade-off depended on the quality trait considered.
We investigated spatial variation in the phylogenetic structure of host spectra in fleas parasitic on small mammals. Measures of phylogenetic host specificity ((phylogenetic species clustering (PSC) and phylogenetic species variability (PSV)) varied significantly more between than within flea species, but the proportion of variation which accounted for among-species differences was low. In 13 of 18 common flea species, at least one of the indices of the phylogenetic structure of regional host spectra revealed a significantly positive association with the phylogenetic structure of regional host assemblage, while relationships between PSC or PSV of the regional host spectrum and the distance from either the region of a flea's maximal abundance or latitude were not supported. Overall, results of this study demonstrated that although the degree of phylogenetic host specificity in fleas can be considered as a true attribute of a flea species, it is highly spatially variable, with phylogenetic structure of the surrounding host pool being the main reason behind this variation.
Left ventricular rotation is physiologically affected by acute changes in preload. We investigated the acute effect of preload changes in chronically underloaded and overloaded left ventricles in children with shunt lesions.
A total of 15 patients with atrial septal defects (Group A: 7.4 ± 4.7 years, 11 females) and 14 patients with patent arterial ducts (Group B: 2.7 ± 3.1 years, 10 females) were investigated using 2D speckle-tracking echocardiography before and after interventional catheterisation. The rotational parameters of the patient group were compared with those of 29 matched healthy children (Group C).
Maximal torsion (A: 2.45 ± 0.9°/cm versus C: 1.8 ± 0.8°/cm, p < 0.05), apical peak systolic rotation (A: 12.6 ± 5.7° versus C: 8.7 ± 3.5°, p < 0.05), and the peak diastolic torsion rate (A: −147 ± 48°/second versus C: −110 ± 31°/second, p < 0.05) were elevated in Group A and dropped immediately to normal values after intervention (maximal torsion 1.5 ± 1.1°/cm, p < 0.05, apical peak systolic rotation 7.2 ± 4.1°, p < 0.05, and peak diastolic torsion rate −106 ± 35°/second, p < 0.05). Patients in Group B had decreased maximal torsion (B: 1.8 ± 1.1°/cm versus C: 3.8 ± 1.4°/cm, p < 0.05) and apical peak systolic rotation (B: 8.3 ± 6.1° versus C: 13.9 ± 4.3°, p < 0.05). Defect closure was followed by an increase in maximal torsion (B: 2.7 ± 1.4°/cm, p < 0.05) and the peak diastolic torsion rate (B: −133 ± 66°/second versus −176 ± 84°/second, p < 0.05).
Patients with chronically underloaded left ventricles compensate with an enhanced apical peak systolic rotation, maximal torsion, and quicker diastolic untwisting to facilitate diastolic filling. In patients with left ventricular dilatation by volume overload, the peak systolic apical rotation and the maximal torsion are decreased. After normalisation of the preload, they immediately return to normal and diastolic untwisting rebounds. These mechanisms are important for understanding the remodelling processes.
We studied the energy cost of egg production in two flea species (Parapulex chephrenis and Xenopsylla ramesis) feeding on principal (Acomys cahirinus and Meriones crassus, respectively) and auxiliary (M. crassus and A. cahirinus, respectively) rodent hosts. We predicted that fleas feeding on principal as compared with auxiliary hosts will (a) expend less energy for egg production; (b) produce larger eggs and (c) live longer after oviposition. Both fleas produced more eggs and spent less energy per egg when exploiting principal hosts. Parapulex chephrenis produced larger eggs after exploiting auxiliary hosts, while the opposite was true for X. ramesis. After oviposition, P. chephrenis fed on the auxiliary hosts survived for a shorter time than those fed on the principal hosts, while in X. ramesis the survival time did not differ among hosts. Our results suggested that one of the proximate causes for lower reproductive performance and subsequent lower abundance of fleas on auxiliary hosts is the higher energy cost of egg production. However, in some species, lower offspring number may be compensated to some extent by their size, although this compensation may also compromise their future reproduction via decreased survival. In addition, the reproductive strategy of exploitation of low profitable (i.e. auxiliary) hosts may differ between flea species.
The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of Ureaplasma urealyticum and Mycoplasma hominis infections and to investigate associations between their presence in the lower female genital tract and lifestyle characteristics. The study was performed on a population of 3115 women, comparing the demographic and behavioural characteristics of 872 women with U. urealyticum infection and 142 women with M. hominis with uninfected women, using univariate and multiple logistic regression analysis. The prevalence of infection with U. urealyticum was 28% and M. hominis was 4·6%. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, intrauterine device, number of sexual partners and age (<35 years) were significantly associated with U. urealyticum while previous induced abortion, condom use and young age at first intercourse (<16 years) were associated with M. hominis infection. U. urealyticum infection presents the same demographic and behavioural characteristics of a sexually transmitted disease. The unprotective role of condom use suggests a non-sexual mode of transmission of M. hominis infection.
We tested for the effect of age of a rodent host (Meriones crassus) on reproductive performance of fleas in terms of number and quality of offspring and predicted that fleas would perform better on juvenile and old than on subadult and adult hosts. The number of flea offspring was evaluated via egg and new imago production, while their quality was estimated via duration of development, resistance to starvation and body size. Although fleas produced more eggs when they exploited adults than when they exploited juvenile, subadult and old hosts, significantly more new imago emerged from fleas fed on juvenile and old hosts than on subadult and adult hosts. Fleas performed better when they fed on juvenile and/or old hosts than on subadult and adult hosts in 2 of 3 measures of offspring quality (duration of development and body size). Nevertheless, when offspring quality was estimated via resistance to starvation of a new imago, fleas demonstrated good performance in young (juvenile and subadult) hosts, while they performed poorly in old hosts. Thus, general reproductive performance of fleas was better when they exploited young and old hosts than when they exploited median age cohorts. However, the effect of host age on flea reproductive performance was manifested somewhat differently between (a) male and female hosts and (b) male and female flea offspring.
The foraging behaviour and dietary selection of free-ranging Awassi sheep and Negev goats when shepherded in the Negev Desert was determined. Measurements were made for 9 weeks (W1–W9) from the beginning of February, following winter rains and emergence of annual plants, to the end of March, after the herbaceous vegetation dried up. Since sheep are grazers and goats are intermediate feeders, it was predicted that goats would browse more and consume proportionately more browse than sheep. These predictions were only partially supported. In fact, the foraging pattern was similar between sheep and goats (Mantel test, P<0·05) until W8 and only towards the end, at W9, did patterns differ significantly (Mantel test, P=0·214) between these two ruminants. There was no difference (P=0·575) between sheep and goats in foraging; however, a period effect was found (P<0·001). In February (W2), sheep and goats grazed 0·69 and 0·71 of the time allotted for foraging and neither species browsed. Browsing commenced only at the beginning of March (W4), when goats browsed 0·08 of the time and sheep 0·07 of the allotted time for foraging. The proportion of time spent browsing increased at the end of March (W9) when annuals disappeared, but the total time spent foraging decreased: goats browsed 0·29 and grazed 0·25, while sheep browsed 0·19 and grazed 0·26 of the time allotted for foraging. Goats increased the proportion of browse consumed gradually throughout the season, whereas sheep maintained a relatively higher proportion of herbaceous plants and only in late March (W8), at which time very little herbaceous plants were available, shifted abruptly to consume mainly browse. In W8, browse composed 0·85 of the dry matter (DM) intake in goats and 0·62 of the DM intake in sheep. A simultaneous analysis of foraging time allocation and relative diet composition revealed that both small ruminants were more efficient in consuming browse than herbaceous plants, more so in goats than sheep. It was concluded that vegetation availability and foraging habits affected dietary selection. Both sheep and goats only grazed when herbaceous plants were abundantly available; differences between ruminant species were apparent when herbaceous plants became scarcer, at which time goats browsed more and consumed proportionately more browse than sheep. The results contribute to better understanding of feeding behaviour and dietary selection of sheep and goats under natural desert pastures and could be useful in the management of mixed flocks.