This paper questions the usefulness of the rights-based approach to ameliorating the social situation of disabled people in Britain and advances two criticisms. First, that rights and self-de? ned needs have been under-theorised by disability theorists to the extent that they have insuf? ciently appreciated the problems that these approaches pose. The paper suggests that rights to appropriate resources to satisfy self-de? ned needs will generate vast numbers of competing rights claims and that the resulting tendency of rights to con? ict has been under-appreciated. Secondly, that there has been little consideration of how these con? icts might be reconciled. The ? rst two sections of the paper look at the concepts of ascribed and self-de? ned needs, respectively, whilst the ? nal one looks at some of the problems of the rights approach and some of the dif? culties of making self-de? ned need the basis of rights claims.