Accessibility statement

Gillian Loomes
PhD Student



My ESRC funded studentship explores the social world of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. In going beyond the ‘letter of the law’ I explore what actually happens in courtrooms, local authority meeting rooms, advocacy offices, individual homes, I analyze how the range of people involved in the everyday practices of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 construct and reproduce the personal and social worlds of decision-making within this revolutionary legal framework, and aim to find out how those who inhabit this world actually go about dealing with the burning social questions that lurk beneath the neat, tidy black-on-white letter of Mental Capacity Law.


Such questions include:

  • (How) can we speak on behalf of another individual? (How) can we represent their personal views, wishes, feelings and beliefs? And (how) do decisions made in this way both reflect and shape the social identity of that individual?
  • (How) do themes of social and group-based oppression impact on and shape discussions concerning the ‘Best Interests’ of an individual?
  • Are all decisions created equal? Can decisions concerning medical treatment and social care or welfare be made using the same framework? (How) do these social worlds overlap?



Who decides when you can’t?

Call for Participants

Are you a person with a disability/disabled person, who is actively involved in the pursuit of disability rights?

Might you be willing to talk with a researcher from the University of York about your views and experiences of accessing health and social care, about the right to accept/refuse medical treatment, and what happens if you lose the capacity to make such decisions for yourself?

I am looking for:

  • Self-identifying people with disabilities/disabled people who are actively involved in the pursuit    of disability rights (e.g., but not limited to – academic research, awareness-raising, training, campaigning, organization/membership of user-led organizations, advocacy, online social media activism)
  • Aged 18 or over and living in England or Wales
  • Willing to participate in an interview (part of my PhD research), focusing on the rights to access/refuse medical treatments, and on what happens if you lose the capacity to make such decisions for yourself.

If you are interested in taking part, or for more information, please contact

Gill Loomes –

Thank you 



Gillian tutors and supervises postgraduate students on Distance Education programmes in Autism Studies at the University of Birmingham (to the level of M.Ed).   

She also regularly lectures on residential study weekends as part of these programmes, teaching on topics of advocacy, education and employment in the context of autism. 

Contact details

Gillian Loomes
PhD Student
Department of Sociology
University of York
North Yorkshire
YO10 5DD


Selected publications

(Please note Quinn is Gillian’s former name)

  • Loomes, G. (2016) (ed.) “Special Issue: The Mental Capacity Act 2005: What does it mean for social policy?” York Policy Review 3

  • Loomes, G. (2016) “Autism and Higher Education” Lecture given at the Autism Centre for Education and Research, University of Birmingham. 24th September, 2016

  • Loomes, G. (2016) “Advocacy on behalf of those who cannot instruct: Perspectives of English non-instructed advocates” Paper delivered at the annual conference of ALTER (European Society for Disability Research), University of Stockholm, Sweden, 1st July, 2016

  • Loomes, G. (2016) “Disability advocacy as a tool for social change: Advocates’ experiences of legislative change in the sector” Paper delivered at White Rose Postgraduate Researcher Conferences, University of Leeds, 20th April, 2016

  • Essl Foundation (2010) Social Index Pilot Study: Situations of Persons with Disabilities Austria: Essl Foundation (named as UK researcher)

  • International Disability Rights Monitor (2007) Regional Report on Europe Chicago: IDRM             (named as UK researcher.)

  • Loomes, G. (2015) Emotional Work in Advocacy  Paper delivered at Centre for Medical Humanities, Unviersity of Durham, 2nd December 2015

  • Quinn, G. (2008) ’Developing an Autism-Specific Advocacy Service.' (Conference Paper) Presented at National Autistic Society 'Inside Advocacy' Conference, London 2008.

  • Quinn, G. (2009) An Evaluation of the Use of Advocacy with an Adult Seeking a Diagnostic           Assessement for Asperger Syndrome Good Autism Practice 10 (1) 52-58

  • Quinn, G. (2012) ’Advocacy for Adults on the Autism Spectrum.’ (Conference Paper) Presented at National Autistic Society Professionals' Conference, Manchester 2012.