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Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences)


Professor Shaun D Pattinson, LLB, MA, PhD, FRSA

Professor in Durham Law School
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 46863
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 46865
Room number: PCL222
Member of the Human Rights Centre

(email at


Shaun Pattinson is Professor of Medical Law and Ethics. He joined the Law School as Reader in Law in 2006 and was promoted to Chair in 2013. He was previously Lecturer (2000-2005), then Senior Lecturer (2005-2006) at the University of Sheffield. Shaun founded Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences) in December 2011. He has been a visiting scholar at the universities of Helsinki and Maastricht.

Shaun has a law degree from the University of Hull, and a Master's degree (in Biotechnological Law and Ethics) and Ph.D from the University of Sheffield.

Shaun tweets @ShaunPattinson


Shaun's research interests are primarily in the area of medical law and ethics. His principal publications are Influencing Traits Before Birth (2002) and Medical Law and Ethics (4th edn, 2014). The second edition of Medical Law and Ethics was awarded the 2010 Minty Medico-Legal Society Prize for best medico-legal book.

Shaun has been appointed to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (the closest that the UK has to a national bioethics committee) for a 3-year term from March 2015. He has participated in many research projects and external committees. He is, for example, currently a member of the External Advisory Board for the Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP), principal investigator on a Wellcome Trust engagement project and co-organiser of the SLS Seminar 2015.

Shaun has given papers at many UK universities and in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, and the US. He edited Medical Law International from July 2005 to July 2011.

Research students

Professor Pattinson is happy to advise those interested in studying for a PhD in any area of medical law and ethics. Please read the information here and contact to arrange for advice on your draft proposal.

Research students - current

Starting in 2015

  • Siti Farahiyah Hj Ab Rahim (PhD - secondary supervisor)
  • Sara Gerke (PhD - visiting student)

Research students - successfully completed

  • Rebecca Blackburn: 'Ending One's Own Life: Unjustifiable Injustice' (MJur)
  • Chantell Burrows: 'Deconstructing Motherhood: A critique of the regulation of surrogacy' (MJur)
  • Benedict Douglas: 'The Necessity and Possibility of the Use of the Principle of Generic Consistency by the UK Courts to Answer Fundamental Questions of Convention Rights Interpretation' (PhD )
  • Daniel Fenwick: 'Recognition of the Violation of Women's Human Rights Under the European Convention of Human Rights in the Context of Restrictive Abortion Regimes' (MJur)
  • Daniel Fenwick, 'A Gewirthian Conception of the Right to Enabled Suicide in England and Wales' (PhD)
  • Elizabeth Robinson (now Gibbison): 'Lessons from Odysseus and Beyond: Why Lacking Morality Means Lacking Totality in the Mental Capacity Act 2005' (MJur)

Teaching Areas

Law and Medicine

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Essays in edited volumes

Journal papers: academic

Show all publications