Rehabilitation science, which aims to maximize physical, psychological and social functioning, is interdisciplinary by nature. Most often, it is associated with medicine, psychiatry, psychology, nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Rehabilitation science’s relationship with disciplines outside of the health sciences, however, is not often considered. Its relevance and relationship to the discipline and practice of law, for example, is poorly understood.
My research aims to fill this gap. My interdisciplinary program explores how rehabilitation science can improve legal system responses to people with mental health conditions, people with disabilities and vulnerable populations. I seek to understand how advances in rehabilitation science can improve rehabilitation-oriented criminal courtroom efforts such as mental health courts and court diversion, other problem-solving courts, Indigenous courts, therapeutic jurisprudence and other comprehensive justice ideas.
Meanwhile, my work also examines how legal instruments such as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, legislation and policies can advance the interest of rehabilitation science in ensuring full participation and citizenship for people with disabilities. This includes the interpretation and application of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to social and legal structures to explore issues relating to social inclusion.