Prof John Williams LLB Wales, LLB Cantab, Barrister-at-Law

Prof John 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 rights of older people.



Williams, J. 2017. Adult safeguarding in Wales: one step in the right direction. Journal of Adult Protection 19 (4) pp. 175-186. 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? 4th Annual World Congressof GeriatricsandGerontology-2016 . Cadair

Williams, J. 2016. Safeguarding & Devolution: UK Perspectives’. ESRC. Cadair

Clarke, A., Williams, J., Wydall, S. 2016. Access to Justice for Victims/Survivors of Elder Abuse: A Qualitative Study. Social Policy and Society 15 (2) pp. 207-220. 10.1017/S1474746415000202 Cadair

Sherlock, A., Royles, E., Williams, J. 2016. A Welsh Model of Commissioners? Cambrian Law Review 45 (2014) Cadair


Williams, J. 2015. Intimate relationships between older people in institutional settings: Ageism, protection or fear. Ethics, Medicine and Public Health 1 (2) pp. 194-202. 10.1016/j.jemep.2015.03.010 Cadair

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. Cadair


Williams, J. 2014. Law Making in a Devolved Wales: Work in Progress. Legal Information Management 14 (4) pp. 266-276. 10.1017/S1472669614000577 Cadair

Williams, J., Roberts, G., Griffiths, A. 2014. Adult Social Care Law in England. Reshaping Social Work Springer Nature, Basingstoke Cadair


Williams, J. 2013. Social care and older prisoners. Journal of Social Work 13 (5) pp. 471-491. 10.1177/1468017311434886 Cadair

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 3 (2) pp. 167-174. Cadair

Williams, J.R. 2013. When I'm sixty-four: Lawyers, Law and 'Old Age'. Cambrian Law Review 34 pp. 103-120. Cadair


Clarke, A.H., Wydall, S., Williams, J.R., Boaler, R.R. 2012. An Evaluation of the ‘Access to Justice’ Pilot Project. Welsh Government Other Cadair

Williams, J. 2012. A New Law on Adult Social Care: A Challenge for Law Reform in Wales. Statute Law Review 33 (2) pp. 304-22. 10.1093/slr/hms026 Cadair

Williams, J. 2012. Reforming the law of social care in Wales. EnvisAGE 9 pp. 19-21. Cadair


Williams, J.R. 2011. Protection of older people in Wales: A guide to the Law. Other Cadair

Williams, J.R. 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. Other Cadair

Williams, J. 2011. Care Home Design and Human Rights. Elder Law Journal 1 (4) pp. 395-402. Cadair


Williams, J., Drogin, E. 2010. A comparison of North American and British Codes of Ethics for Psychologists. Cambrian Law Review 41 pp. 73-85. Cadair

Williams, J. 2010. The emerging need for a Welsh jurisdiction. Agenda 42 pp. 41-43. Cadair

Williams, J. 2010. Fifty, the new sixty? The Health and Social Care of Older Prisoners. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults 11 (3) pp. 16-24. 10.5042/qiaoa.2010.0525 Cadair

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. Cadair


Williams, J. 2009. Elder Abuse: An opportunity for Wales? EnvisAGE 8 pp. 4-6. Cadair

Williams, J. 2009. Law Reform: A Law Commission for Wales. Agenda pp. 19-22. Cadair


Williams, J.R. 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. Cadair


Williams, J. 2007. Child Protection and the Criminal Justice System. In K. Wilson., A. James. (eds) The Child Protection Handbook. 3eth edn, Elsevier pp. 362-376. Cadair


Drogin, E., Howard, M.E., 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. 10.1002/0470013397.ch18 Cadair

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 4 (1) pp. 87-100. Cadair


Williams, J. 2004. Social Work, Liberty and Law. British Journal of Social Work 34 (1) pp. 37-52. 10.1093/bjsw/bch004 Cadair

Williams, J. 2004. A New Advocate for Older People. Agenda pp. 62-64. Cadair


Williams, J. 2002. Public Law Protection of Vulnerable Adults: The Debate Continues, So Does the Abuse. Journal of Social Work 2 (3) pp. 293-316. 10.1177/146801730200200303 Cadair

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 14 (2) pp. 217-228. Cadair Other


Williams, J., Williams, K.S. 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. Cadair

Williams, J. 2001. Hunger Strikes: A Prisoner's right or a 'Wicked Folly'? Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 40 (3) pp. 285-296. 10.1111/1468-2311.00208 Cadair

Williams, J.R. 2001. 1998 Human Rights Act: Social Work's New Benchmark. British Journal of Social Work 31 (6) pp. 831-844. 10.1093/bjsw/31.6.831 Cadair


Williams, J. 2000. The crime and disorder act 1998: Conflicting roles for the appropriate adult. Criminal Law Review pp. 911-920. Cadair

Williams, J. 2000. The inappropriate adult. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 22 (1) pp. 43-57. 10.1080/014180300362750 Cadair


Williams, J., Roberts, G., Griffiths, A. 1997. Elder Abuse and the Law. In F. Glendenning., P. Decalmer. (eds) The Mistreatment of Elderly People. Secondth edn, SAGE Publications, London pp. 62-75. Cadair


Williams, J. 1995. Social Services Law. 2nd Revisedth edn, Elsevier Cadair

Williams, J. 1995. Elder abuse and access to law. Journal of the British Association of Services to the Elderly pp. 20-26. Cadair


Harding, C., Williams, J. 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 Cadair

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. Cadair

Williams, J. 1994. Contact and Care: The Dichotomy Resolved. Child and Family Law Quarterly 6 pp. 43-46. Cadair


Morgan, J., Williams, J. 1993. A role for a support person for child witnesses in criminal proceedings. British Journal of Social Work 23 (2) pp. 113-121. Other Cadair

Hartley, R.J., 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 2 (3) pp. 243-254. 10.1080/13600834.1993.9965682 Other Cadair

Williams, J. 1993. Interagency Work with the Elderly. Journal of the British Association of Services to the Elderly 53 pp. 25-29. Cadair


Morgan, J., Williams, J. 1992. Child witnesses and the legal process. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 14 (6) pp. 484-496. 10.1080/09649069208412377 Other Cadair

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. Cadair

Williams, J. 1992. Working Together II. Child and Family Law Quarterly 4 pp. 68. Cadair

Williams, J. 1992. Supporting Child Witnesses. Cadair

Williams, J. 1992. The Patient's Right to Decide. Journal of the British Association of Services to the Elderly 47 pp. 40-43. Cadair

Williams, J. 1992. Private Fostering. Cadair


Williams, J. 1991. The Children Act 1989: the public law. Current Legal Topics Fourmat Publishing, London Cadair

Williams, J., Hartley, R. 1991. Legal Information for living: The role of information technology. In A. J. Meadows. (ed) Information Technology and the Individual. Firstth edn, Cengage Learning, London pp. 26-53. Cadair

Salter, D., Williams, J. 1991. Post-admission legal education and solicitors in rural wales. Law Teacher 25 (2) pp. 132-141. 10.1080/03069400.1991.9992808 Cadair

Williams, J. 1991. Parental Contact with Children in Care. Child and Family Law Quarterly 3 pp. 131-134. Cadair

Williams, J. 1991. Community Care Plans. Journal of the British Association of Services to the Elderly 46 pp. 35-37. Cadair

Williams, J., Morgan, J. 1991. A Consumer Survey of General Medical Services in Llanelli and Cardigan. Prifysgol Aberystwyth | Aberystwyth University Cadair


Williams, J. 1990. The Enforcement of Access Orders. Child and Family Law Quarterly 2 pp. 88-90. Cadair

Williams, J. 1990. Protecting the Child Victim. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Police Studies: Intnl Review of Police Development pp. 592-593. Cadair

Williams, J. 1990. Treaties and Municipal Law. In J. P. Gardner. (ed) United Kingdom Law in the 1990's. United Kingdom National Committee of Comparative Law, London pp. 255-269. Cadair

Williams, J. 1990. The Law of Mental Health. Fourmat Publishing, Croydon Cadair


Williams, J. 1989. Children in care placements with parents. Cadair


Williams, J. 1988. Custodianship and Adoption. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 10 (4) pp. 250-262. 10.1080/09649068808412083 Other Cadair

Williams, J. 1988. Pace and Confidential Information. Journal of Criminal Law 52 (2) pp. 201-211. Cadair

Williams, J., Harding, C., Ireland, R. 1988. Legal Education: Outreach to the Professions and the Community. Law Librarian 19 (1) pp. 27. Cadair

Williams, J. 1988. Child Abuse: The problem of access. Law Society Gazette 85 (26) pp. 26-28. Cadair


Williams, J. 1986. Separate Representation: Should children have their own lawyers? . Justice of the Peace 150 (44) pp. 697-699. Cadair

Williams, J., Baxter, J., Rawlings, P. 1986. Police Complaints under Pace. Journal of Criminal Law 50 (2) pp. 178-185. 10.1177/002201838605000209 Cadair

Williams, J., Baxter, J., Rawlings, P. 1986. PACE: Protecting the Suspect. Journal of Criminal Law 50 (1) pp. 68-75. 10.1177/002201838605000106 Cadair


Baxter, J., Rawlings, P., Williams, J. 1985. Arrest—A New Balance? Journal of Criminal Law 49 (4) pp. 358-366. 10.1177/002201838504900405 Cadair

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. Cadair

Williams, J., Baxter, J., Rawlings, P. 1985. Pace: Safeguards—Real or Imagined? Journal of Criminal Law 49 (2) pp. 164-172. 10.1177/002201838504900207 Cadair

Williams, J. 1985. Marital Rape: The CLRC Proposals. Family Law 15 pp. 99-101. Cadair


Williams, J. 1984. Marital Rape: Time for Reform. New Law Journal 134 (6137) pp. 26-28. Cadair

Williams, J. 1984. Victim Refusal. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 35 (4) pp. 386-392. Cadair


Williams, J. 1983. Stare Decisis and the Doctrine of Incorporation of Customary International law. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 34 (2) pp. 166-173. Cadair


Williams, J. 1982. Treaties and the Common Law. New Law Journal Supplement pp. 463-465. Cadair


Williams, J. 1981. Changing the Emphasis in Family Law. Cambrian Law Review 12 pp. 60-75. Cadair

Williams, J. 1981. The Taxation of Married Couples. Family Law 11 (6) pp. 169-173. Cadair


Williams, J. 1979. Void Marriages and the Co-ownership of the Matrimonial Home. Family Law 9 (6) pp. 176-179. Cadair