The deprivation of liberty of autistic people

Dr Yo Dunn, Evelyne Friedel, Alex Ruck Keene and Soeren Holst

Dr Yo Dunn
Yo is a trainer and consultant who works across the public sector (primarily in social care and education) with a specialism in autism. She creates bespoke training and consults on: autism for public services; and the legal framework underpinning public services for the autism world. She is experienced in working closely with professionals in schools, local authorities and providers. As part of Belinda Schwehr’s Care and Health Law training team, she delivers high level training on the legal framework of social care to a broad cross section of English local authorities and other clients (including training on the Care Act, safeguarding, Mental Capacity Act and other issues). She has a thorough working knowledge of public law and professional practice issues in both adult and children’s services and is well placed to provide a clear overview of a range of issues affecting autistic people. Yo has an academic background in social policy analysis and her doctorate is in educational research. She is an experienced and well-reviewed public speaker known for her ability to make ‘dry’ topics engaging and accessible. She is autistic, a self-confessed legal geek and deeply involved in the adult self-advocate community.

Evelyne Friedel
Evelyne Friedel is a French lawyer admitted to the Paris Bar in 1992. She has a Doctor of Laws degree (University of Paris), and a Master of Laws (LLM) (Georgetown University Law Center – Washington D.C.). Evelyne started her career with Hyman Phelps & McNamara in 1989, a law firm of Washington DC. She then worked for the Paris offices of Lovells and Jones Day. Since 2008, she is Partner of Taylor Wessing. Evelyne is specialist in European law. Evelyne has also developed an expertise on regulatory issues and especially in health law. Evelyne has lectured for several years at the University Paris (Panthéon Assas) and at the Institute of Political Studies of Paris (Sciences Po). Evelyne is actively involved on a pro bono basis in the defense of the fundamental rights of people with disabilities and more particularly of people with autism. She is the vice-president of the NGO Autism- Europe (former president 2008-2012). She has represented Autism-Europe before the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the WHO.
In particular, on behalf of Autism-Europe, Evelyne lodged a collective complaint before the Council of Europe, denouncing the violation by France of its international commitments under the European Social Charter. The decision rendered in 2003 stated that France had failed to fulfil its educational obligations towards persons with autism. Due to this decision, France implemented 3 dedicated plans for autism. At the national level, Evelyne was president of Autism France for several years. She also founded in 2005 with her husband the first service provider organisation dedicated to people with autism, offering educational programs based on evidenced methods. (AFG Autisme). Evelyne assists this organization since then.

Alex Ruck Keene
Alex Ruck Keene is an experienced barrister, writer and educator. His practice is focused on mental capacity law (broadly defined) in which he is able to provide specialist advice and representation, as well as delivering expert training for front line professionals. He also writes extensively in the field, editing and contributing to leading textbooks and (amongst many other publications) the 39 Essex Chambers Mental Capacity Law Newsletter, the ‘bible’ for solicitors (and others) working in the area. He is the creator of the website, providing resources and expert commentary on some of the most difficult mental capacity issues. Alex is an Honorary Research Lecturer at the University of Manchester and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Dickson Poon School of Law, Kings College London. He is on secondment for the entirety of 2016 to the Law Commission as a consultant to their Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty Project.

Soeren Holst
Soeren Holst is PhD Fellow and MSc in Social Work at Aalborg University, Denmark. He is also an educated social worker from "Peter Sabroe Seminarium", Aarhus, and have been working with young people and people with learning disabilities and various social problems all his life.

He is working as a researcher and counselor at the secured institution Kofoedsminde, which is an institution for offenders with learning disabilities. He is also counselor for "The National Board of Health and Welfare" (Ministry of Social Affairs and the Interior), for which he provides nationwide counseling in cases concerning people with learning disabilities, offending and criminal behavior.

Latest research projects: “Firesetters with Learning Disabilities” an epidemiologic study. “Risk assessment and Social Pedagogic” an Institutional Ethnography of the impact of an evidence based method in a socialpedagogic framework.


This panel discussion will look at the issues surrounding the deprivation of liberty of autistic people across Europe. The deprivation of a person’s liberty is a very serious matter and should not happen unless it is... [ view full abstract ]


PL-9 » Panel Discussion (11:40 - Saturday, 17th September, Pentland Auditorium)