School of Law

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Nell Munro

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences



Dr Nell Munro graduated with an LLB with first class honours from Queen Mary, University of London in 2004. She received her MA in Socio-legal and Criminological Research Methods with distinction from the University of Nottingham in 2005. She was awarded a PhD by the University of Nottingham in 2008.

Nell has also worked as a mental health advocacy worker, a care worker in residential care for people with learning disabilities and as a helpline worker for the National Autistic Society all of which have played a part in shaping her current research interests.

Teaching Summary

I am the module convenor for Social Welfare and the Law and Mental Health Law and Policy. I also teach Law of the European Union and the Law of Trusts.

At PhD level I supervised Dr Amanda Keeling, whose research examined the role of mental capacity in the work of social workers involved in adult safeguarding decision-making and Dr Chloe Hocking, whose research looked at the experiences of autistic individuals in police custody.

I am currently supervising Carla Reeson who is studying the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act.

I am always happy to hear from potential research students interested in social welfare law, particularly those with an interest in co-produced research and/or with lived experience.

Research Summary

I am interested in how we can ensure legal decisions are made with people and not just about people. These could be decisions about housing for homeless people, mental health treatment for people… read more

Selected Publications

Nell runs the School's Mental Health and Capacity Law Blog which can be viewed here:

Current Research

I am interested in how we can ensure legal decisions are made with people and not just about people. These could be decisions about housing for homeless people, mental health treatment for people with mental disorders or social care for adults with disabilities.

I began my career working with children and adults with learning disabilities and then worked in mental health advocacy. I met people who had to live in houses they didn't choose with housemates they didn't like and take medication and go to college or treatment centres because they were told these things were good for them. Sometimes the people I met disagreed with the plans that had been made for them. Often people neither agreed nor disagreed but did not feel it was worth trying to change things. They told me this was how the system worked.

I did a PhD about this, I wanted to know why people with mental health needs were not able to make decisions about their care and treatment. At the end of it I had a better idea about why the law makes it hard for people to challenge decisions made about their lives. But no real idea how to change this!

Then I became ill myself and spent lots of time having decisions made about my medical care and treatment. This was tough. At one point I wanted to write about the things which happened to me but I found trying to do this too upsetting and stopped. If you have questions about my life you can ask me them directly.

I am disabled. I have epilepsy.

Being ill changed the way I do research. It made me more sure that as a researcher we need to work alongside people helping them to describe the issues that affect them and identify the ways law can change. But I didn't want to just write about what would help women with epilepsy. So I have built relationships with other people who have not had a voice to help them get heard.

Unless there is a really good reason like lots of disabled people or homeless people will be there I don't go to law conferences any more. Which is great because I find them very tiring. I sometimes help organise conferences and am interested in how we can plan events so everyone can participate and they are not too tiring.

Past Research

I was a storyteller on the ERC Voices Project coordinated by NUI Galway:

Their website has lots of useful resources for anyone interested in coordinating co-produced work on law and human rights.

Future Research

Autism and Policing

This project is looking at how autistic people and the police interact. This is a collaboration with Dr Dani Ropar in the School of Psychology, Chloe Hocking Professor John Jackson and a group of expert autistic individuals and police officers. We are developing training for police officers which will help them interact with autistic individuals in custody more effectively. We also want to influence the way police stations are designed so they are not such stressful environments for people who have sensory sensitivities. We have already received a Nottingham Impact Accelerator Award for this work.

The second is looking at supported housing for people who have been homeless, or in prison, or in drug rehabilitation. The law allows local authorities to fund 'housing-related support' for people who might need a bit of extra help when they move into a new home. But it isn't really clear what this support is for. So we have done some work with a small charity asking the people who use it what 'support' means to them and also with a group of charities asking what support could achieve. The law in this area is very vague. I am interested in how the law could change to reflect the priorities of people who use services and not just those who fund them. This preliminary work was funded by an ESRC Impact grant and this project is still in development.

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