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Durham University

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Professor Emma Cave, LLB. M.Jur, PhD, SFHEA

Professor of Healthcare Law in the Durham Law School
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42829
Room number: PCL122

Contact Professor Emma Cave (email at


Professor Cave publishes widely in the field of Medical Law and teaches Law and Medicine. She serves as a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority 2018-2021 and was appointed to the Medical Ethics Expert Group of the Infected Blood Inquiry in 2019. She is an editorial board member of OUP's Medical Law Review and of the Journal of Medical Law and Ethics.

Her principal areas of research include compulsion, capacity and consent and she has published recently on public health, NHS redress and medical research. Her 2004 monograph, The Mother of All Crimes was reissued by Routledge in 2018 and the sixth edition of her co-authored book (with Professor Margaret Brazier), Medicine, Patients and the Law was published in August 2016.

Professor Cave has worked on a number of multi-disciplinary research projects. One developed professional training for research ethics committees, another attempted to delimit the research concept. One analysed the role of empirical methods in bioethics, another looked at adoelscent consent to and refusal of medical treatment.

Her latest projects include a British Academy project on the adequacy of ethical advice in the COVID-19 pandemic and an ESRC IAA project on the implications of the Supreme Court judgment Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] on informed consent. She was awarded a Scottish Parliament Academic Fellowship in 2018 to produce a Scottish Parliament Information Centre Briefing on information disclsoure.

She served on the University Ethics Advisory Committee 2017-2020, the University Research Committee from 2016-2018,and as Deputy Dean (Research) to the Law School from 2014-2018.

Research Supervision

Professor Cave would be delighted to hear from potential students interested in researching legal and ethical issues relating to compulsion, consent, medical research and issues pertaining to the foetus.

Her most recent PhD students research/ed abortion, professional regulation, consent and wrongful life and birth litigation. Please read the information here and contact her to arrange for advice on your draft proposal.

Research Groups

Durham Law School

Research Interests

  • Clinical Negligence
  • Compulsion
  • Consent
  • Healthcare research
  • Medical Ethics
  • Medical Law
  • Capacity

Indicators of Esteem

Selected Publications

Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

  • Berg, Jessica & Cave, Emma (2020). Patient autonomy, capacity and consent (children). In Oxford Handbook on Comparative Health Law. Hervey, Tamara & Orentlicher, David Oxford University Press.
  • Cave, Emma & Doughty, Julie (2017). F v F [2013] IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE FAMILY DIVISION. In Rewriting Children's Rights Judgments: From Academic Vision to New Practice. Stalford, Helen, Hollingsworth, Kathryn & Gilmore, Stephen Oxford: Hart.
  • Cave, Emma & Stanton, Catherine (2016). Maternal responsibility to the child not yet born. In Pioneering Healthcare Law: Essays in Honour of Margaret Brazier. Stanton C, Devaney S, Farrell A-M & Mullock A Routledge. 280-292.
  • Cave, Emma (2013). Adolescent Consent to Medical Treatment. In Oxford Bibliographies in Childhood Studies. (New York: Oxford University Press). Montgomery, Heather Oxford (USA).

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)


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Selected Grants

  • 2020: British Academy Special Research Grant Covid-19: Ethical advice and ethics committees in the pandemic. With PI Prof David Archard.
  • 2018: IAA- Scottish Parliament Academic Fellowship: Informed consent (£1386.00 from ESRC Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics (INNOGEN))