M4C Logo AHRC Logo

Steve Atkin

Law and Legal Studies, Nottingham Trent University

Thesis title:

How the Welfare Systems of the Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom Uphold the Rights of Disabled Persons: A Comparative Study

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) sets international legal standards for the promotion and protection of human rights afforded to disabled persons. By August 2009, the United Kingdom (UK) had signed and ratified both the CRPD and its Optional Protocol. 

While the United Nations monitoring committee for the CRPD has sought clarification regarding CRPD compliance from over eighty State Parties, the UK is the first State Party to be subjected to an inquiry by this committee due to the negative impact caused by the benefits regime implemented in the UK as part of the 2013 welfare reform. In the 2016 Inquiry Report into the UK, the committee delivered its first (and at present only) finding of a State Party being in violation of the CRPD.

My research will identify the extent to which disability welfare law and policy of both the UK and the Republic of Ireland (Ireland) complies with the rights espoused by the CRPD. This will be achieved by the comparison of relevant legislative measures from the UK and Ireland with the CPRD and with conclusions from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Committee) which hold the UK in violation of the CRPD. My project will also analyse the historical development of social policy and legislation in both the UK and Ireland in order to ascertain how differing historical opinions regarding disability in both the UK and Ireland have impacted modern legislation and its interpretation. 

My project aims to establish whether it would be appropriate to adapt and transpose into UK law any Irish provisions which my research identifies as complying with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in instances where UK law remains in violation of the CRPD. In all four CRPD rights are being considered. These are the rights to accessibility, to independent living and community inclusion, to work and employment, and to an adequate standard of living.

Research Area

  • Law and Legal Studies


How Far-Reaching is the Right to Accessibility? - presentated at Midlands4Cities Research Festival 2020 on 13th-14th July 2020.

Disability and Person First vs Identity First Language - presented at Created Identities Interdisciplinary Conference on 5th September 2020.

Public Engagement & Impact

Elected as Academic Rep for PhD/PGR students in Nottingham Law School

Lead Organiser of the NTU Postgraduate Researcher Community

Manage the Nottingham Law School Mentorship Programme

Mentor NLS PhD students

Sit on the Nottingham Law School Research and Innovation Committees

Volunteered at the NLS Legal Advice Centre.

Elected as both Treasurer and President of the NTSU Fez Wearing Society. 

Planned and managed the Fez Wearing Society/National Autistic Society fundraising excursion to Paris.

Other Research Interests

European Human Rights

Autism and Hidden Disabilities 

Critical Legal Theory

Discrimination Law 


Society of Legal Scholars

Discrimination Law Association

Disability Rights UK

NTU Centre for Rights and Justice

NTU Postgraduate Researcher Forum

NTSU Academic Representatives 

Profile of Studies

LLB Law (First Class), Nottingham Trent University (2013-2016) 

LLM Human Rights and Justice (Distinction), Nottingham Trent University (2016-2018) 

Midlands4Cities DTP Funded PhD Researcher, Nottingham Trent University (2019-Present)


Awarded the NTSU Leadership Award for work with the NTSU Fez Wearing Society. 

Awarded a volunteering certificate for work with NLS Legal Advice Centre by NTU Vice Chancellor.

Attained the LexisNexis Foundation Certificate for skills in legal research.

Attained the LexisNexis Advanced Certificate for skills in legal research.

Attained the Twitter for Business Certificate 


Teach on the Governence, Ethics and Law Module for Nottingham Business School Students