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Law and Society Lecture 2019: ‘On being able to walk twenty metres’

QM School of Law

Thursday, 21 February 2019 from 18:30 to 20:00 (GMT)

Law and Society Lecture 2019: ‘On being able to walk...

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Law and Society Lecture 2019: ‘On being able to walk twenty metres’ 

Thursday, 21 February | 6.30pm - | Peston Lecture Theatre, Graduate Centre

Chaired by David Ruebain, formerly Chief Executive of Equality Challenge Unit

About the Law and Society Lecture

The Queen Mary Law and Society Lecture is a major annual lecture. Past lecturers include Shami Chakrabati, Sir Peter Gross, Jolyon Maugham, Clive Stafford-Smith, Sir Ross Cranston, David Ormerod and Sir Rabinder Singh.


About 'On being able to walk twenty metres' 

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 introduced Personal Independence Payments (PIPs), and in particular the enhanced mobility rate, with its twenty metre test to replacing the more flexibly applied fifty metre test for the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Rather than modify DLA so as to cure its perceived faults, the Government decided to ignore the past and start afresh. Deploying through the press the rhetoric of ‘Strivers v Skivers’ and ‘the real disabled’, it disregarded the accumulated expectations and security that had been given by lifetime awards to DLA, and attempted to rule out from PIP determinations evidence that had been used to inform decisions on DLA eligibility. The lecture examines the implementation of PIP and shows that the norms according to which DWP operates are radically at variance with those laid down in the Regulations governing PIPs. These developments have been central to the creation of a ‘hostile environment’, under austerity, for people with disabilities.

Teas & Coffees will be made available from 6pm - 6.30pm

About the Speakers 

Peter Alldridge has been Drapers’ Professor of Law at Queen Mary since 2003. He has published widely in a number of fields, including financial crime and disability law. In 2013 he was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. In 2017 he served as a UN expert in Corruption, and in 2017-18 he was the President of the Society of Legal Scholars. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Disabled Lawyers.


David Ruebain is Chief Executive of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama. Prior to that he had been Chief Executive of Equality Challenge Unit, a policy and research agency funded to advance equality & diversity in universities in the UK and colleges in Scotland (until it merged with two other agencies to form Advance HE). Before that, he was a practicing solicitor for 21 years; latterly as Director of Legal Policy at the Equality and Human Rights Commission of Great Britain following a career in private practice as a Partner at and founder of the department of Education, Equality and Disability Law at Levenes Solicitors. David is an ADR Group accredited mediator and acts as the equality adviser to the English FA Premier League. He is a Trustee of ADD (Action on Disability and Development), a member of the Rights & Justice Committee of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Advisory Board of the Wellcome Trust, a Member of the Editorial Board of Disability and Society journal and a Fellow of the British American Project.

David has published widely and taught nationally and internationally on education, disability and equality law and practice and has been involved in numerous voluntary organisations, drafting Private Members Bills and in making oral representations to Committees of Parliament. He is the past Chair of the Law Society of England and Wale’s Mental Health and Disability Committee and has been a Short Term Expert to a European Union Twinning Project, a founding member of The Times Newspaper Law Panel, a Board Member of Equinet (the European Network of Equality Bodies) and a former member of the Advisory Group of OFFA (the Office for Fair Access). Most recently, he co-presented a talk and discussion at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London on Disability and Inter-Dependence.

David’s publications include: consulting editor to Disability Discrimination: The Law and Practice by Declan O’Dempsey and Andrew Short; co-author of The DDA Toolkit (previously Notes on the Disability Discrimination Act), co-author of Taking Action, a Guide for Parents of Children with Special Educational Needs, co-author of Education Law and Practice, co-author of the Atkin’s Court Forms volume on Education Law, a contributor to Disability Rights Law and Policy, edited by Mary Lou Breslin and Silvia Yee, a contributor to Encyclopaedia of Disability, edited by Prof. Gary Albrecht, a contributor to Disability Rights in Europe: From Theory to Practice, edited by Anna Lawson and Caroline Gooding, a contributor to the Self-Help Packs for Disability Discrimination Complaints in Education published by the Disability Rights Commission, drafting the Education Law and Sex Discrimination leaflet for the Equal Opportunities Commission, co-author of the 2nd edition of Disabled Children and the Law, a contributor to The Good Schools Guide on Special Educational Needs, consultant to the Disability Rights Commission on their Codes of Practice for General Qualification Bodies and amended Post 16 Guidance, a contributor to Including Teaching Assistants: Developing Understanding and Practice in Inclusive Education edited by Dr Felicity Armstrong and Dr Gill Richards; a contributor to guidance from the FA Premier League, co-editor of Education, Disability and Social Policy, co-editor of all 3 editions of Blackstone’s Guide to the Equality Act 2010, author of Are we not there yet? and contributor to Comprehensive Achievements: All our geese are swans, edited by Dame Tamsyn Imison.

David is the winner of RADAR’s People of the Year Award for Achievement in the Furtherance of Human Rights of Disabled People in the UK, 2002. He was also shortlisted for the Law Society’s Gazette Centenary Award for Lifetime Achievement – Human Rights, in November 2003. In August 2006, David was listed as one of 25 Most Influential Disabled People in the UK by Disability Now Magazine and in 2013, listed in the Disability News Service’s “Influence Index”. He is also listed in the all three Disability Power Lists, October 2014, October 2015 and May 2017.


Closest Underground stations are Stepney Green Station and Mile End Station. For those traveling by taxi, the Graduate Centre (number 18 on the map) is accessible from Bancroft Road.

Do you have questions about Law and Society Lecture 2019: ‘On being able to walk twenty metres’ ? Contact QM School of Law

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When & Where

Peston Lecture Theatre, Graduate Centre
Queen Mary University of London
404 Bancroft Rd
E1 4DH London
United Kingdom

Thursday, 21 February 2019 from 18:30 to 20:00 (GMT)

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