World Elder Law Study Group 2008

24 July 2008

By Alison Taylor

2008 World Elder Law Study Group Presentations


Professor Kim Dayton, Professor of Law, William Mitchell College of Law

ABSTRACT – Prof Dayton starts this session with an argument that a feminist analysis of law and ageing is crucial to understanding the theoretical field of elder law. This is so not only because of demographics: women consist the majority of the older population, especially that of the older-old and the poor. This is so because feminist legal theory is actually rich and diverse as to include different critical perspective on the ways law constructs old age – in general, and elderly women – in specific. 

Dr. Israel Doron, Senior Lecturer, University of Haifa

ABSTRACT – Dr. Doron in his presentation tries to escape the “monist” theoretical approaches to elder law: the key for conceptualizing elder law is not found in one dimension or a single perspective. Rather, a multi-dimensional model is needed in order to encompass this dynamic field. Known for his international and comparative perspectives on law and ageing, Dr. Doron provides a model which consists of five different “legal dimensions,” which are inter-related and inter-connected.

Professor Rebecca Morgan, Director of the Stetson’s Centre for Excellence in Elder Law, Stetson University

  • The Future of Elder Law

Professor Winsor Schmidt

Endowed Chair/Distinguished Scholar in Urban Health Policy, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Professor of Family and Geriatric Medicine, Professor of Health Management and Systems Sciences, University of Louisville School of Medicine

ABSTRACT – From a critical mental health law perspective, Prof. Schmidt argues that law and aging can be seen as a “potential mechanism of socially controlling the social deviance of aging through the therapeutic state and therapeutic jurisprudence.” He proposes to adopt an alternative mental health theory approach to law and aging, which is normatively based on the premise of free will and responsibility and a legal mental health system that abolishes involuntary civil commitment and has sanism as a principal challenge. From this original theoretical perspective, it is clear that the challenge elder law faces in the future is to transform itself from a social control mechanism of a therapeutic state and a therapeutic jurisprudence into an emancipating, empowering, integrating assertion in an aging society.

  • Professor Schmidt’s other publications include: Schmidt, Teaster, Wood, Lawrence & Mendiondo, “Development and Trends in the Status of Public Guardianship: Highlights of the 2007 National Public GuardianshipStudy,” 33 (5) Mental and Physical Disability Law Reporter 728-732 (September October 2009). PMID: 20041583; Schmidt, Akinci & Magill, “Study Finds Certified Guardians with Legal Work Experience Are at Greater Risk for Elder Abuse Than Certified Guardians with Other Work Experience,” 7 (2) NAELA Journal 171-197 (Fall 2011); Schmidt, “Medicalization of Aging: The Upside and the Downside,” 13 (1) Marquette Elder’s Advisor 55-88 (Fall 2011) & P. Teaster, W. Schmidt, E. Wood, S. Lawrence & M. Mendiondo, Public Guardianship: In the Best Interests of Incapacitated People?, Praeger Publishers (2010), 262

Professor Doug Surtees, Associate Professor, University of Saskatchewan

ABSTRACT – Prof. Surtees describes in his presentation the historical development of the disability rights movement, and the different mile-stones along its way. Taking up this rich experience, Prof. Surtees argues that lessons learnt from the disability movement are relevant to the field of elder law. Most importantly, the concept of “universalism,” which has been developed in the legal realm of disability rights, is of much relevance to the conceptualization of elder law.

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