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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 gerontologist and 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 (Hons) Law (Senior Status) programme; Academic Lead for York Law School's student law journal, York Law Review; and a member of York Law School’s Athena SWAN gender equality steering group. I am a member/chair of the University of York’s Standing Academic Misconduct Panels.



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.

My current research interests are in relation to ageism and age discrimination in regulatory contexts, approached at the intersection of three theoretical frameworks: social justice, legal consciousness and legal pluralism.

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)

Current non-funded projects

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]


Selected publications

For a full list of publications see York research database

Sample of books:

  • Westwood, S. (ed) (frth) Death Rights: Regulating the ending of life. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • 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]

Sample of book chapters:

  • Westwood, S. (frth). Embodiment, choice and control at the beginning and ending of life: Paradoxes and contradictions. In S. Westwood (ed) Death Rights: Regulating the endings of life. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Westwood, S. (2020). 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 for Socio-Legal Studies of Medicine and Health, part of Law and Society series directed by Austin Sarat (Amherst, US) and Rosemary Hunter (Queen Mary, London), London: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Bishop, J. A., & Westwood, S. (2018). Trans(gender)/gender-diverse ageing: Possibilities for reframing gendered ageing. In S. Westwood (ed) Ageing, Diversity and Equality: Social justice perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge. 

Sample of journal articles:

  • Westwood, S. (2020). The myth of ‘older LGBT+ ’people: Research shortcomings and policy/practice implications for health/care provision. Journal of Aging Studies, 55,
  • 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) Older LGBT+ Health Inequalities: Setting a research agenda. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, doi: 10.1136/jech-2019-213068
  • Westwood, S. (2019). Abuse and older lesbian, gay bisexual, and trans (LGBT) people: a commentary and research agenda. Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, 31(2), 97-114.

External activities


Other Activities

  • Reviewer for: Ageing and Society; The British Journal of Sociology; The Sociological Review; NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research; Canadian Journal for Law and Society; Housing Studies; The Journal of Nursing Ethics; Social Theory and Health; Social Science and Medicine; 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 the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Routledge and Springer.



I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and teach on the following modules:


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

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


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