Agency, mental capacity and criminal responsibility in mental disorder

This small grant enables Dr Craigie to extend a project she is undertaking to consider how the English legal system assesses capacity and culpability in cases with a mental disorder.

The main project is funded by the Wellcome Trust through a Research Fellowship in Biomedical Ethics.  The additional funding from the Nuffield Foundation will enable an expansion of the remit of the original project in two important ways: first, the team will add a fourth area of mental disorder (addiction) as a further comparative case-study to the original three (anorexia, depression and personality disorder); and second, the involvement of a researcher with specialist legal expertise will enable an additional area of law – human rights - to be investigated in all four case-studies, alongside the existing areas of focus on mental capacity and criminal responsibility.

The overall aim of the work is to develop a conceptual framework for practical use by courts and clinicians in establishing the relevance of findings in the cognitive sciences for assessments of capacity and culpability in current English law.  The findings would also give rise to recommendations regarding current English law.

Project details



Dr Jillian Craigie, Department of Philosophy, University College London

Funding programme

Law in Society

Grant amount and duration


February 2013 - February 2014