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Law in Context

Abstract from Volume 35 No 2 (2017) Disability, Rights and Law Reform in Australia

Confronting Words: Driving a New Legal Lexicon of Disability

Rosalind Croucher AM was appointed as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission in July 2017, after seven and a half years as President of the Australian Law Reform Commission.

This article is about words – the words used to describe people with disability and those who assist them. It confronts the problem of finding the right words, tackled in the ALRC inquiry into the legal recognition of people with disability and their exercise of legal capacity, reflective of the dignity of all people. It describes the challenge of developing a ‘new lexicon’ in conjunction with developing National Decision-Making Principles, and places this in the historical context of the language of disability in law. It also recognises that, although changing language does not change everything, it is an important first step: to confront the confronting words.

(2017) 35(2) Law in Context p15

   
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