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

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.

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

Shaun has been a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (the closest that the UK has to a national bioethics committee) since 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 Ethical Rationalism and the Law project.

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

  • Clayton Ó Néill (PhD - primary supervisor)
  • Thomas Bennett (PhD - secondary supervisor)
  • Joshua Jowitt (PhD - secondary supervisor)
  • Daniel Lowe (PhD - secondary supervisor)
  • Angela Grunert (from October - PhD, primary supervisor)
  • Marianna Iliadou (from October - PhD, primary supervisor)
  • Michael Williams (from October - PhD, secondary supervisor)
  • Marcus Wong (from October - PhD, secondary supervisor)

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

Books: authored

Books: edited

Books: sections

Journal papers: academic

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 (AHRC)