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14 October 2022

‘Due to societal prejudices and incorrect assumptions, deaf people’s rights are often overlooked or denied’ (WFD, 2022)

Cover page for Deaf Gain textbookBy applying a Deaf Legal Theory (DLT) perspective on the law, we can expose these societal prejudices and incorrect assumptions that pervade within the law as they relate to deaf people. This blog and website aims to provide a central resource for this exposé.

The concept of DLT originated in Bryan and Emery’s (2014) chapter in Deaf Gain: Raising the Stakes for Human Diversity (Bauman & Murray, 2014), and they apply DLT to human fertilisation law, in particular, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (2008).

DLT is a new concept in the field of study known as ‘jurisprudence,’ that is, various critical approaches to law through which a critical examination of legal systems can be made.  A detailed explanation of what is DLT can be found here, and ‘jurisprudence’ here.  In short, the question ‘what is law’ is a question that has occupied legal scholars for centuries, and this field of study is known as jurisprudence.

How DLT works in practice is to provide a lens or a pair of glasses for anyone who examines a particular area of law and how it applies or doesn’t apply to deaf people.  Each time this process is undertaken, the area of law will be the subject of an ‘exposé.’

While the focus of this blog is on UK law, DLT can be applied to any legal jurisdiction the world over, and the principles of application will remain the same.

The aim of this project is to develop DLT by carrying out a series of exposés until it is established as a theory within the field of critical jurisprudence.

Bauman, H.-D. L., & Murray, J. J. (Eds.), Deaf gain: Raising the stakes for human diversity. London: University of Minnesota Press.
Bryan, A., & Emery, S. (2014). The case for Deaf legal theory through the lens of Deaf gain. In H.-D. L. Bauman & J. J. Murray (Eds.), Deaf Gain: Raising the stakes for human diversity (pp. 37–62). London: University of Minnesota Press. (2008). Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. Accessed 15 October 2022.
World Federation of the Deaf. (2022). Human Rights. Accessed 15 October 2022.