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Dr Lucy Series

Dr Lucy Series

Senior Lecturer in Law

School of Law and Politics

Media commentator


I am a senior research fellow and lecturer in law. I have held a Wellcome society and ethics research fellowship since 2017, exploring paradoxes of empowerment under mental capacity law. I use a range of qualitative and quantitative socio-legal research methods, and am interested in inclusive methods for public engagement with people directly affected by mental capacity, social care and disability law. My recent monograph, Deprivation of Liberty in the Shadows of the Institution defines and 'diagnoses' the paradoxes of social care detention, a contemporary global phenomenon whereby community care living arrangements are regulated as a deprivation of liberty.

I am a leading expert on the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the deprivation of liberty safeguards, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I gave expert testimony and oral evidence to the National Institute for Health and Care excellence, for their guidance on Mental Capacity and Decision Making, and to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights for their inquiry into The Right to Freedom and Safety. I sat on the Human Rights and Equality Working Group of the recent Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983. I have been a member of the CQC's advisory group on the deprivation of liberty safeguards since 2010, and was a member of the Law Society's Mental Health and Disability Group (2015 - 2020). I am a co-founder of the UK and Ireland Mental Diversity Law Network. I have previously worked with the World Health Organisation and UN human rights bodies on matters concerning legal capacity and deprivation of liberty.

During my tenure as a research fellow, I co-lead LLM modules on Capacity and Consent to Treatment. I have previously taught tort law, social care law, and disability law. I have previously been vice-chair of the LAWPL Research Ethics Committee (2016-2020) and sat on the research Committee (2016-19).


I joined Cardiff University School of Law in 2013. Before this I worked at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway where I worked on a variety of international research projects and teaching LLM and undergraduate students on disability law courses.  I have previously worked as a researcher in psychology at Bristol University and Frenchay Hospital.

I hold a BA in Psychology and Philosophy (first class honours, Oxford University, 2002-05), an MSc in Psychology Research Methods (distinction, Bristol University 2006-07) and a PhD in law (Exeter Univerity, 2009-2013. My doctoral thesis considered whether the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards could address problems of 'institutional domination' for adults with intellectual disabilities in community care living arrangements, using republican political theory.






  • Series, L. and Nilsson, A. 2018. Article 12 CRPD: Equal recognition before the law. In: Bantekas, I., Stein, M. A. and Anastasiou, D. eds. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 339-382.
  • Lawson, A. and Series, L. 2018. United Kingdom. In: Waddington, L. and Lawson, A. eds. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Practice: A Comparative Analysis of the Role of Courts. Oxford University Press, pp. 417-537.








I currently teach on specialist masters programs concerning health and social care law. I co-lead two modules on Consent to Treatment and contribute to courses on Social Care Law.  I have also taught on undergraduate tort law modules, and written courses on disabiltiy law.  I am interested in how students can be best supported to undertake independent research and write to their best ability, for example running a workshop for graduate students on framing research questions.

I supervise doctoral students in law and social work doctoral programs. I also examine masters and doctoral candidates in law and related disciplines.

My research explores how the law shapes and structures the power dynamics of caregiving for people with long-term cognitive impairments such as intellectual disabilities, brain injury or dementia. This research interest stems from my experiences working in a variety of roles in health and social care during the 2000s, including as an assistant psychologist in neuropsychology, a support worker, care assistant and with parents with intellectual disabilities. My socio-legal and empirically informed research is located at the intersections between disability rights, medical law, social care law and family law,

My current research project, funded by Wellcome, looks at 'problems of empowerment' under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.  I have recently written a monograph on the development of social care detention - a contemporary global phenomenon whereby care arrangements in the 'community' are recognised and regulated as a deprivation of liberty.  Deprivation of Liberty in the Shadows of the Institution will be published by Bristol University Press in 2022, and made available in digital open access formats. My next monograph concerns the paradoxes of empowerment under mental capacity law, taking a genealogical and biographical approach to the history, origins and effects of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, based on interviews with key stakeholders and archival research.

Prior to my fellowship I worked with Professor Phil Fennell, Dr Julie Doughty and Professor Luke Clements on a project funded by the Nuffield Foundation looking at transparency, efficiency and participation in welfare cases in the Court of Protection. Our research reports highlighting the costs, delays and problems accessing justice and participating in proceedings have helped inform changes to the Court of Protection rules and the deprivation of liberty safeguards, forming part of a LAWPL impact case study for REF 2021.

I sit on the editorial boards of the Journal of Law and Society and the British Journal of Learning Disability. I am also a non-executive editor of International Journal of Disability and Social Justice. I help to edit the Court of Protection Practice 2021, a touchstone resource for legal practitioners and the judiciary.

My research on the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the Court of Protection and disability rights has featured in the national media, and I am available for comment on these issues. I write a blog about my research, The Small Places.


I supervise PhD students in law and on social work doctoral programs, on topics including mental capacity, disability rights and social care law.