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Sue Westwood



Dr Sue Westwood
BSc (Hons), MSc (Geront), MSc (IntPsych), DipCnsPsych, PGDip (Gender, Sexuality & Human Rights), GDL, PhD (Law), FHEA


I am a feminist socio-legal scholar, having career-changed from social work, counselling psychology and psychotherapy. I was a postgraduate research fellow at the University of Leeds, University of Oxford, University of Southampton, University of Surrey and Middlesex University. I have taught undergraduate and postgraduate law at Keele University, and undergraduate law at Coventry University, the Open University, and the Southwest University of Political Science & Law (SWUPL), Chongqing, China. I was a visiting scholar at Beasley School of Law, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA (2016) and Emory Law School, Emory University, Atlanta, USA (2015).

I am Programme Leader for the 2 Year LLB Law Senior Status, as well as FL2 Module Leader for the 3 Year LLB Law.

I am Academic Lead for York Law School's student law journal, York Law Review (@yorklawreview) and a member of York Law School’s Athena SWAN gender equality steering group. I was a member/chair of the University of York’s Standing Academic Misconduct Panels 2018-2019.



My PhD thesis explored, taking a feminist socio-legal approach, how temporality and spatiality shape uneven outcomes in later life, by informing the discursive and performative production of ageing, gender and sexuality, which in turn influence access to the equality issues of resources and recognition. Locating older lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals’ concerns about future formal care needs in spatial terms, I considered this in terms of practices of both power and resistance in those spaces.

While continuing to research ageing, diversity and equality, I am also developing my interest in law, power and space, specifically in relation to emerging technologies. I co-convene York Law School's Health and Well-being research cluster.

Current awards

  • April 2020 – Westwood, S. Religious Freedoms and Sexual Orientation Rights in Older Age Care Spaces. (Morrell Centre for Tolerance Grant Fund), £7,467 (PI)

Previous awards

  • Feb 2019 – July 2019 Westwood, S., Fish, J., Willis, P., Birks, Y. Older LGBTQ Health and Care Inequalities in the UK - Developing a collaborative research network. (University of York Research Priming), £8,350 (PI)

  • 2017 - Westwood, S. ‘LGBT 'elder abuse': Scoping future research possibilities (Law School Internal Research Grant/Keele Centre for Ageing Research Grant): £400 (PI)

  • 2017 - Westwood, S. ‘A Right to Die?’ – Socio-legal perspectives’ conference (Law School Internal Research Grant): £1,030 (PI)
  • 2015 - Carey, N, Westwood, S, Cook, D., et al. The Multiple Sclerosis Society Models of Excellence Literature Reviews: Information Advice and Advocacy (PI); Emotional and Psychological Wellbeing (CI); Co-ordination of treatment, care and support (CI): £43,708
  • 2015 King, A. Westwood, S. and Stoneman, P. [University of Surrey] Pump priming for ‘SAFE’ Older LGBT Housing Equality survey. University of Surrey, £13,685. (CI)
  • 2015 King, A. and Westwood, S. Intersections of Ageing, Gender, Sexualities (i-ages) research conference: £3,500. (Institute of Advanced Studies) (CI)
  • 2013-5 King, A., Almack, K., Yiu-Sung, T., Westwood, S. Older LGBT People: Minding the Knowledge Gaps. (ESRC Seminar Series grant): £14,505. (CI)

Previous grant applications

  • Halliday, S. and Westwood, S. (with York City Council) Age-Friendly York: A Socio-Legal Study. White Rose DTP Collaborative Award. Dec 2019 [Not awarded]
  • Brookfield, K., Westwood, S., Friend, R., Thiengburanathum, P., Promphakping, B. & Hutanuwatr, K. Ageing in South East Asia: Setting A Research Agenda. GlobalChallenges Research Fund Priming for ODA-Compliant Research Activities. £18,840 Nov 2019 [Not awarded]
  • Westwood, S., Gready, P. and Hafford-Letchfield Equality and Human Rights in Care Homes for Older People. (EHRiCH). National Institute for Health Research- School for Social Care Research. Outline application: £447,513. July 2019 [Not awarded]
  • Westwood, S. et al Older LGBT+ People, Health & Healthcare Inequalities: Finding Solutions. Wellcome Trust Collaborative Awards in Humanities and Social Science. Outline application, July 2019; invited to proceed and submitted full application September 2019. PLM19077: £774,886. July 2019 [Not awarded]


  • I am currently supervising:
    • a fourth-year medical student based at Hull York Medical School who is conducting research on GP's attitudes towards sexuality/gender identity disclosure by LGBT patients;
    • ten LLB research dissertations on themes relating to law, gender and sexuality.
  • I am interested in, and open to, supervising PhD students researching: law, gender and sexuality; ageing in regulatory contexts; law and spatiality.


Selected publications

For a full list of publications see York research database


  • Westwood, S. (Ed) (2018). Ageing, Diversity and Equality: Social justice perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge. [Successfully nominated by Routledge for the Knowledge Unlatched Open Access scheme]
  • Westwood, S. (2016) Ageing, Gender and Sexuality: Equality in Later Life. Abingdon: Routledge. [Winner of the Socio Legal Studies Association (SLSA) Early Career Book Prize for 2017]

Book chapters:

  • Westwood, S. (2018). Older Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People: Socio- legal perspectives on healthcare inequalities in later life. In M.A. Jacob and A. Kirkland (Eds) Research Handbook on Law, Medicine and Society. London: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Westwood, S. (2018). Which ageing ‘families’ count? Older lesbian, gay and bisexual family forms – relational legal in/exclusions in (older age) family law. In J. Herring and B. Clough, (Eds) Ageing, Gender and Family Law. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Westwood, S. (2016) ‘Institutions, they’re very straight. My god I hope I don’t have to go into a care home’: Spatial inequalities anticipated by older lesbians and gay men. In: R. Harding, R Fletcher and C Beasley (Eds) ReValuing Care in Theory, Law & Policy: Cycles and Connections, pp 215-232. Abingdon: Routledge.

Journal articles:

  • Westwood, S., Willis, P., Fish, J., Hafford-Letchfield, T., Semlyen, J., King, J., Beach, B., Almack, K., Kneale, D., Toze, M. and Becares, L. (2020). (in press) Older LGBT+ Health Inequalities: Setting a research agenda. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
  • Westwood, S. (2017) Older Lesbians, Gay Men and the ‘Right to Die’ debate - ‘I always keep a lethal dose of something, because I don’t want to become an elderly isolated person’. Social and Legal Studies, 26(5), 606-628
  • Westwood, S. (2016). LGBT* ageing in the UK: spatial inequalities in older age housing/care provision. Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 24(1), 63-76.
  • Westwood, S. (2015) ‘We See it as Being Heterosexualised, Being Put into a Care Home’: Gender, sexuality and housing/care preferences among older LGB individuals in the UK. Health and Social Care in the Community, 24(6), e155-e163.

External activities


  • Member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association
  • Member of the Law and Society Association
  • Member of the British Society of Gerontology
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Other Activities

  • Member of the University of York’s LGBTI+ Matters Action Group
  • Engaged in a collaborative co-produced older lesbian feminist research project with Calderdale Friends of Dorothy
  • Submitted written evidenceon older LGBT Health and Healthcare Inequalities to the Women & Equalities Committee inquiry into Health and social care and LGBT communities (2019)
  • Member of steering group for a consortium of researchers from the London School of Economics, Lancaster University and the University of Bristol, recently commissioned by the Ministry of Communities, Housing and Local Government (MHCLG) to examine the role of community-led housing in mitigating loneliness across the life course
  • Reviewer for: The British Journal of Sociology; The Sociological Review; NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research; Ageing and Society; The Journal of Nursing Ethics; Social Theory and Health; Health Promotion Journal of Australia; Culture, Health and Sexuality; BPS Psychology of Sexualities Review; and Journal of Academic Development and Education (JADE)
  • Peer reviewer for Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)



I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, now pursuing Senior Fellow status. I teach on the following modules:


  • LLB Introduction to Law and Society (Year 1)
  • LLB Foundations in Law (Obligations) (Years 1 and 2)
  • LLB Dissertation (Year 3)

I am also Module Leader for the third-year LLB module, Law, Gender and Sexuality, which is studied by both Law and Social Policy students.


I am Module Leader for the postgraduate law optional module, Law, Gender and Sexuality (commencing 2020-1) available to students on York Law School’s LLM Law, LLM International Human Rights Law and Practice, and LLM Legal and Political Theory

Contact details

Dr Sue Westwood
York Law School

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 5874