Prof John Robert Williams

LLB Wales, LLB Cantab, Barrister-at-Law

Prof John Robert Williams


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My research interests concentrate on the impact of the law on older people. The fact that we are living longer is very often portrayed as 'a problem' and we constantly hear reference to the 'demographic time bomb'.

Ageism is a deeply regrettable feature of modern living. As with any other form of discrimination, it is demeaning and abusive. Ageism is prevalent in the public and private sectors; older people are discriminated against in the provision of services. People who are not 'old' (whatever that may mean) fear the ageing process and see older people as an image of what they may be like in years to come, without recognising the pleasure of living longer and the important contribution that older people make to the economic, social and cultural life of society.

A particularly disturbing example of ageism is the fact that significant numbers of older people are subjected to some form of abuse. A recent study funded by Comic Relief found that prevalence of elder abuse in Wales is 6%, Scotland 4.3%, and Northern Ireland 3%.

Recently I have been working on the rights of older prisoners. Although relatively small in number, the over sixties are the fasting growing sector of the prison population. To what extent does the prison system recognise the rights of older people to health care and social care? Are prisons and prison regimes aware of special needs that some older prisoners may have? To what extent are the human rights of older prisoners being violated by the belief that there is some kind of iron curtain between human rights and the prison system?

Although a legal approach to these and other issues relating to older people is not the solution, law does have a role to play in improving the lives of older people and eradicating ageism and promoting social exclusion. My research explores some of the areas where law can work for the


Harding, C & Williams, J (eds) 1994, Legal Provision in the Rural Environment: Legal Services, Criminal Justice and Welfare Provision in Rural Areas. Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru | University of Wales Press, Cardiff.
Williams, J 1994, Community Care: the Law and Rural Areas. in C Harding & J Williams (eds), Legal Provision in the Rural Environment: Legal Services, Criminal Justice and Welfare Provision in Rural Areas. Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru | University of Wales Press, Cardiff, pp. 121-137.
Williams, J 1994, 'Contact and Care: The Dichotomy Resolved' Tolley's Journal of Child Law, vol 6, pp. 43-46.
Morgan, J & Williams, J 1993, 'A role for a support person for child witnesses in criminal proceedings' British Journal of Social Work, vol 23, no. 2, pp. 113-121.
Hartley, RJ, Morris, S & Williams, J 1993, 'The use of an expert system shell to present the mental health act to social workers' Information and Communications Technology Law, vol 2, no. 3, pp. 243-254. DOI: 10.1080/13600834.1993.9965682
Williams, J 1993, 'Interagency Work with the Elderly' Journal of the British Association of Services to the Elderly, vol 53, pp. 25-29.
Morgan, J & Williams, J 1992, 'Child witnesses and the legal process' Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, vol 14, no. 6, pp. 484-496. DOI: 10.1080/09649069208412377
Williams, J 1992, Legal Capacity and Older People. in A Griffiths, G Roberts & J Williams (eds), Sharpening the Instrument: the Law and Older People. Uned Hyfforddi Base Cymru, London, pp. 30-46.
Williams, J 1992, 'Working Together II' Tolley's Journal of Child Law, vol 4, pp. 68.
Williams, J 1992, 'Supporting Child Witnesses', pp. 40-43, The Magistrate, 47 Magistrates' Association.
Williams, J 1992, 'The Patient's Right to Decide' Journal of the British Association of Services to the Elderly, vol 47, pp. 40-43.
Williams, J 1992, 'Private Fostering', pp. 23-24, Law Society Gazette.
Williams, J 1991, The Children Act 1989: the public law. Current Legal Topics, Fourmat Publishing, London.
Williams, J & Hartley, R 1991, Legal Information for living: The role of information technology. in AJ Meadows (ed.), Information Technology and the Individual. First edn, Cengage Learning, London, pp. 26-53.
Salter, D & Williams, J 1991, 'Post-admission legal education and solicitors in rural wales' Law Teacher, vol 25, no. 2, pp. 132-141. DOI: 10.1080/03069400.1991.9992808
Williams, J 1991, 'Parental Contact with Children in Care' Journal of Child Law, vol 3, pp. 131-134.
Williams, J 1991, 'Community Care Plans' Journal of the British Association of Services to the Elderly, vol 46, pp. 35-37.
Williams, J & Morgan, J 1991, A Consumer Survey of General Medical Services in Llanelli and Cardigan. Prifysgol Aberystwyth | Aberystwyth University.
Williams, J 1990, Treaties and Municipal Law. in JP Gardner (ed.), United Kingdom Law in the 1990's. vol. 10, United Kingdom National Committee of Comparative Law, London, pp. 255-269.
Williams, J 1990, The Law of Mental Health. Fourmat Publishing, Croydon.
Williams, J 2017, 'Adult safeguarding in Wales: one step in the right direction' Journal of Adult Protection, vol 19, no. 4, pp. 175-186. DOI: 10.1108/JAP-05-2017-0021
Williams, J 2016, ''An International Convention on the Rights of Older People? A needless distraction or a long overdue reform?' Paper presented at 4th Annual World Congressof GeriatricsandGerontology-2016 , Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 2016 - 2016, .
Williams, J 2016, 'Safeguarding & Devolution: UK Perspectives’' Paper presented at ESRC, Luton, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2016 - 2016, .
Clarke, A, Williams, J & Wydall, S 2016, 'Access to Justice for Victims/Survivors of Elder Abuse: A Qualitative Study' Social Policy and Society, vol 15, no. 2, pp. 207-220. DOI: 10.1017/S1474746415000202
Sherlock, A, Royles, E & Williams, J 2016, 'A Welsh Model of Commissioners?' Cambrian Law Review, vol 45 (2014).
Williams, J 2015, 'Intimate relationships between older people in institutional settings: Ageism, protection or fear.' Ethics, Medicine and Public Health, vol 1, no. 2, pp. 194-202. DOI: 10.1016/j.jemep.2015.03.010
Wydall, S, Williams, J & Clarke, A 2015, 'Clarke, A., Williams, J, Wydall, S. (2015) ‘Access to justice for victims of elder abuse’ Social Policy & Society Cambridge Journal (first view) pp.1-14' Social Policy and Society, pp. 1.
Williams, J 2014, 'Law Making in a Devolved Wales: Work in Progress' Legal Information Management, vol 14, no. 4, pp. 266-276. DOI: 10.1017/S1472669614000577
Williams, J, Roberts, G & Griffiths, A 2014, Adult Social Care Law in England. Reshaping Social Work, Springer Nature, Basingstoke.
Williams, J 2013, 'Social care and older prisoners' Journal of Social Work, vol 13, no. 5, pp. 471-491. DOI: 10.1177/1468017311434886
Williams, J, Wydall, S & Clarke, A 2013, 'Protecting older victims of abuse who lack capacity: the role of the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate' Elder Law Journal, vol 3, no. 2, pp. 167-174.
Williams, JR 2013, 'When I'm sixty-four: Lawyers, Law and 'Old Age'' Cambrian Law Review, vol 34, pp. 103-120.
Clarke, AH, Wydall, S, Williams, JR & Boaler, RR 2012, An Evaluation of the ‘Access to Justice’ Pilot Project. Welsh Government.
Williams, J 2012, 'A New Law on Adult Social Care: A Challenge for Law Reform in Wales' Statute Law Review, vol 33, no. 2, pp. 304-22. DOI: 10.1093/slr/hms026
Williams, J 2012, 'Reforming the law of social care in Wales' EnvisAGE, vol 9, pp. 19-21.
Williams, JRProtection of older people in Wales: A guide to the Law.
Williams, JR 2011, An International Convention on the Rights of Older People? in M Odello & S Cavandoli (eds), Emerging areas of human rights in the 21st century: the role of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Taylor & Francis, New York, pp. 128-148.
Williams, J 2011, 'Care Home Design and Human Rights' Elder Law Journal, vol 1, no. 4, pp. 395-402.
Williams, J 2010, 'Fifty, the new sixty? The Health and Social Care of Older Prisoners' Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, vol 11, no. 3, pp. 16-24. DOI: 10.5042/qiaoa.2010.0525
Williams, J 2010, Elder Abuse: Criminological perspective. in F Brookman, M Maguire, H Pierpoint & T Bennett (eds), Handbook on Crime. Willan Publishing, pp. 415-426.
Williams, J 1990, 'The Enforcement of Access Orders' Journal of Child Law, vol 2, pp. 88-90.
Williams, J 1990, 'Protecting the Child Victim' Police Studies: Intnl Review of Police Development, pp. 592-593.
Williams, J 1989, 'Children in care placements with parents', Law Society Gazette, 86 25.
Williams, J 1988, 'Custodianship and Adoption' Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, vol 10, no. 4, pp. 250-262. DOI: 10.1080/09649068808412083
Williams, J 1988, 'Pace and Confidential Information' Journal of Criminal Law, vol 52, no. 2, pp. 201-211.
Williams, J, Harding, C & Ireland, R 1988, 'Legal Education: Outreach to the Professions and the Community' Law Librarian, vol 19, no. 1, pp. 27.
Williams, J 1988, 'Child Abuse: The problem of access' Law Society Gazette, vol 85, no. 26, pp. 26-28.
Williams, J 1986, 'Separate Representation: Should children have their own lawyers? ' Justice of the Peace, vol 150, no. 44, pp. 697-699.
Williams, J, Baxter, J & Rawlings, P 1986, 'Police Complaints under Pace' Journal of Criminal Law, vol 50, no. 2, pp. 178-185. DOI: 10.1177/002201838605000209
Williams, J, Baxter, J & Rawlings, P 1986, 'PACE: Protecting the Suspect' Journal of Criminal Law, vol 50, no. 1, pp. 68-75. DOI: 10.1177/002201838605000106
Baxter, J, Rawlings, P & Williams, J 1985, 'Arrest—A New Balance?' Journal of Criminal Law, vol 49, no. 4, pp. 358-366. DOI: 10.1177/002201838504900405
Williams, J 1985, The Police and Criminal Evidence Act and the Press. in J Baxter & L Koffman (eds), Police: The Constitution and the Community. Elsevier, pp. 219-236.
Williams, J, Baxter, J & Rawlings, P 1985, 'Pace: Safeguards—Real or Imagined?' Journal of Criminal Law, vol 49, no. 2, pp. 164-172. DOI: 10.1177/002201838504900207
Williams, J 1985, 'Marital Rape: The CLRC Proposals' Family Law, vol 15, pp. 99-101.
Williams, J 1984, 'Marital Rape: Time for Reform' New Law Journal, vol 134, no. 6137, pp. 26-28.
Williams, J 1984, 'Victim Refusal' Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, vol 35, no. 4, pp. 386-392.
Williams, J 1983, 'Stare Decisis and the Doctrine of Incorporation of Customary International law' Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, vol 34, no. 2, pp. 166-173.
Williams, J 1982, 'Treaties and the Common Law' New Law Journal Supplement, pp. 463-465.
Williams, J 1981, 'Changing the Emphasis in Family Law' Cambrian Law Review, vol 12, pp. 60-75.
Williams, J 1981, 'The Taxation of Married Couples' Family Law, vol 11, no. 6, pp. 169-173.
Williams, J 1979, 'Void Marriages and the Co-ownership of the Matrimonial Home' Family Law, vol 9, no. 6, pp. 176-179.
Williams, J & Drogin, E 2010, 'A comparison of North American and British Codes of Ethics for Psychologists' Cambrian Law Review, vol 41, pp. 73-85.
Williams, J 2010, 'The emerging need for a Welsh jurisdiction.' Agenda, vol 42, pp. 41-43.
Williams, J 2009, 'Elder Abuse: An opportunity for Wales?' EnvisAGE, vol 8, pp. 4-6.
Williams, J 2009, 'Law Reform: A Law Commission for Wales' Agenda, pp. 19-22.
Williams, JR 2008, State Responsibility and the abuse of vulnerable older people: Is there a case for a public law to protect vulnerable older people from abuse? in J Bridgeman, H Keating & C Lind (eds), Responsibility, Law and Family. Taylor & Francis, London, pp. 81-105.
Williams, J 2007, Child Protection and the Criminal Justice System. in K Wilson & A James (eds), The Child Protection Handbook. 3e edn, Elsevier, pp. 362-376.
Drogin, E, Howard, ME & Williams, J 2005, Restorative Justice: The Influence of Psychology from a Jurisprudent Therapy Perspective. in D Carson & R Bull (eds), Handbook of Psychology in Legal Contexts: Carson/Psychology in Legal Contexts. Wiley, Chichester, UK, pp. 423-448. DOI: 10.1002/0470013397.ch18
Williams, J 2005, 'An Older People’s Commissioner for Wales: Promoting Human Rights and social inclusion for older people ' Wales Journal of Law and Policy, vol 4, no. 1, pp. 87-100.
Williams, J 2004, 'Social Work, Liberty and Law' British Journal of Social Work, vol 34, no. 1, pp. 37-52. DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bch004
Williams, J 2004, 'A New Advocate for Older People' Agenda, pp. 62-64.
Williams, J 2002, 'Public Law Protection of Vulnerable Adults: The Debate Continues, So Does the Abuse' Journal of Social Work, vol 2, no. 3, pp. 293-316. DOI: 10.1177/146801730200200303
Williams, J 2002, 'The Queen on the Application of Mellor v Secretary of State for the Home Department: Prisoners and Artificial Insemination - Have the Courts got it right?' Child and Family Law Quarterly, vol 14, no. 2, pp. 217-228.
Williams, J & Williams, KS 2001, Vulnerable Adults: Confidentiality and Inter-disciplinary Working. in A Garwood-Gowers, J Tingle & T Lewis (eds), Healthcare Law: Impact of the Human Rights Act 1998. Taylor & Francis, Harlow, pp. 147-162.
Williams, J 2001, 'Hunger Strikes: A Prisoner's right or a 'Wicked Folly'?' Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, vol 40, no. 3, pp. 285-296. DOI: 10.1111/1468-2311.00208
Williams, JR 2001, '1998 Human Rights Act: Social Work's New Benchmark' British Journal of Social Work, vol 31, no. 6, pp. 831-844. DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/31.6.831
Williams, J 2000, 'The crime and disorder act 1998: Conflicting roles for the appropriate adult' Criminal Law Review, pp. 911-920.
Williams, J 2000, 'The inappropriate adult' Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, vol 22, no. 1, pp. 43-57. DOI: 10.1080/014180300362750
Williams, J, Roberts, G & Griffiths, A 1997, Elder Abuse and the Law. in F Glendenning & P Decalmer (eds), The Mistreatment of Elderly People. Second edn, SAGE Publications, London, pp. 62-75.
Williams, J 1995, Social Services Law. 2nd Revised edn, Elsevier.
Williams, J 1995, 'Elder abuse and access to law' Journal of the British Association of Services to the Elderly, pp. 20-26.