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4 - Disability Organizations and the Diffusion of Rights in the United Kingdom

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 May 2011

Lisa Vanhala
Affiliation:
Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford University
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

This chapter paints a picture of the disability community in the United Kingdom and explains how disability organizations have approached the opportunity to undertake legal mobilization as part of their strategies to influence public policy. I provide a brief overview of the history of three main types of organizations that have operated in the sphere of disability policy from the 1970s to 2005: the grassroots organizations of disabled persons; the traditional disability charities; and a quasi-nongovernmental organization, the Disability Rights Commission (DRC). I explore the evolving attitudes within and across organizations toward social model understandings of disability and also their attitudes toward, and (where relevant) their usage of, strategic litigation as a policy-influencing tool. The analysis in this chapter demonstrates that there is significant variation, both among and within, the three types of organizations in the disability sector in the UK regarding the use of (and organizational values on the use of) strategic litigation. This is in contrast to Canada, where the majority of the main disability organizations have turned to the courts. Included in the sample of organizations chosen there are cases of important disability organizations that have not adopted the use of litigation. This allows for the exploration of some “negative cases”: groups that have not used (or in some cases, even considered using) legal action to pursue policy goals.

Type
Chapter
Information
Making Rights a Reality?
Disability Rights Activists and Legal Mobilization
, pp. 146 - 202
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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