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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Camilla Pickles, LLB, LLM (Research), LLD

Assistant Professor in Biolaw in the Durham Law School

(email at


Camilla is an Assistant Professor in Biolaw. She obtained her LLB, LLM (Research), and LLD from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Before starting at Durham Law School in 2019, Camilla was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights, and International Law at the University of Johannesburg and she was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford. Before plunging herself into the world of postdoctoral research, Camilla served as a Law Research Clerk for Chief Justice Mogoeng at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa. 

Camilla’s research is focused on women’s rights during pregnancy and childbirth, with a particular focus on obstetric violence. She enjoys working in multidisciplinary groups and with organisations dedicated to protecting and promoting women’s rights. Camilla has published on themes related to abortion and access thereto, involuntary sterilisations and abortions, foetal personhood, management of foetal remains, feticide, the maternal/foetal relationship during pregnancy, and violence and abuse during labour and childbirth at the hands of healthcare professionals. Camilla’s first monograph, Pregnancy Law in South Africa: Between Reproductive Autonomy and Foetal Interests (2017), is dedicated to unpacking the law’s approach to the maternal foetal relationship and recently co-edited, Childbirth, Vulnerability and Law: Exploring Issues of Violence and Control (2019). She is currently writing her second monograph focused on obstetric violence and the law and co-editing Without Consent: Vaginal Examinations during Labour and the Law. Her research intersects human rights law, medical law and ethics, criminal law, and tort law; and it engages broader themes related to reproductive justice, gender, equality, and violence (interpersonal and structural).

Camilla is a member of the South African Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition, White Ribbon Alliance (a Global Council for Respectful Maternity Care), the Oxford Human Rights Hub, and a fellow at the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights, and International Law. She has worked with members from Birthrights, Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services, the Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice, the Institute for Women’s Health (University College London), CREA, and with journalists investigating aspects of women’s rights during childbirth in African and European contexts.

Research Groups

Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences

Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse

Research Groups

Durham Law School

  • Centre for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
  • Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences
  • Human Rights Centre

Research Interests

  • Criminal Law
  • Gender and Violence
  • Human Rights
  • Medical Law

Teaching Areas

  • Medical Law and Ethics (LLM)

  • Tort Law


Authored book

Edited book

Chapter in book

Journal Article