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

Deputy Head of School in Durham Law School
Deputy Head of Department, 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. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2007 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in 2017.

Shaun tweets @ShaunPattinson

Amazon webpage.


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. A collection of essays, edited with Patrick Capps, was published in January: Ethical Rationalism and the Law (Hart Publishing, 2017). Shaun is currently writing a monograph, Revisiting Landmark Cases in Medical Law (Routledge).

Shaun 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) and was principal investigator on a Wellcome Trust engagement project. He 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, and has been a member of the editorial board since February 2017.

Since March 2015, Shaun has been a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which is the closest that the UK has to a national bioethics committee. He was also a member of the Working Group on Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), which launched its report on NIPT in the Speaker's House in the Palace of Westminster on 1 March 2017.

Research students - current

Research students - successfully completed

Research Groups

Durham Law School

Research Projects

Durham Law School

Research Interests

  • Medical Law
  • Moral Theory (especially applied ethics)
  • Human Rights

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • English Law: Medical law
  • Ethics: Medical ethics


Selected Grants

  • 2015: Incentivising Innovation and Higher Standards in Regulation and Liability Relating to Medicines (Society of Legal Scholars, £9,417) PI: Goldberg CI: Pattinson
  • 2014: 2014-2017 Human Cloning and Stem Cell Research Through the Medium of Law (Wellcome Trust, £29,961). PI: Pattinson CIs: Douglas & Kind.
  • 2004: Medical Law and Ethics: moral and legal aspects of medical practice (£14,013, AHRC)
  • 2004: Overseas conference grant (£800, British Academy)
  • 2004: SLS Academic Purposes Fund (£800, SLS)
  • 1998: PhD studentship award (British Academy/AHRB)