Linking Elder Law and Child Law Research

Teresa Somes, Holly Doel-Mackaway

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The fields of child and elder law share many commonalities yet the theoretical frameworks that dominate these respective discourses appear at odds with one another. Since the new sociology of childhood emerged in the 1980s, alongside the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (1989), childhood discourse emphasises children's agency and the crucial role of children’s participation as citizens in line with article 12 of the CRC. In contrast, elder law discourse is still in a relatively nascent stage and as such commentators are still in the process of conceptualising elder law within any specific framework. Nonetheless, literature in this domain often foregrounds older people’s vulnerabilities, focusing less on older people’s agency.

This chapter, co-authored by two legal academics - a children’s rights academic and an elder law academic - examines issues surrounding autonomy, capacity, decision-making and participation in legal contexts relating to children and older people and considers whether there are significant discrepancies in how the law engages with these age groups and if so, what is the impact of this with respect to rights fulfillment. It examines whether it is necessary to have discrete theoretical frameworks for the young and the old, or whether these frameworks have more in common than first appears.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLinking ages – a dialogue between childhood and ageing research
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


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