Dr Mary Neal



Personal statement


Mary Neal joined Strathclyde in 2006 and is currently a Reader. She holds LLB (Honours) and LLM (by research) degrees from the University of Glasgow, and a PhD from Cardiff University (2005).

Dr Neal is Deputy Head of the School of Law with responsibility for Policy and Practice. She teaches and co-ordinates two Honours classes: Law, Persons and Property, and Issues in Healthcare Law and Ethics.

She is currently a member of the BMA Medical Ethics Committee, and in 2015 she advised the Parliamentary Committee scrutinising the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill.



Dr Neal's main research interests are in Healthcare Law, Bioethics, and Legal Theory, and her current research focuses on conscientious objection in healthcare, beginning and end of life issues, theories of property, and meta-disciplinary concepts such as dignity, sanctity, and love.

Dr Neal supervises a number of doctoral research students, and welcomes applications that focus on any of the following areas: Healthcare Law/Ethics (particularly conscience, beginning and end of life issues, the nature of healthcare, and the professional/patient relationship), Legal Theory/Philosophy, Human Dignity, and theoretical aspects of Property.

Dr Neal is currently Principal Investigator on two funded projects: the Accommodating Conscience Research Network (ACoRN) funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh; and a British Academy/Leverhulme-funded project investigating pharmacists' perceptions of and involvement in the creation of professional ethical guidance.

She is also a Co-Investigator on an ESRC-funded project exploring professionals' attitudes to conscientious objection, working with colleagues in Liverpool and Glasgow.



 Books & book chapters

  • Ethical Judgments: Re-writing Medical Law (Hart, 2016) (co-editor and contributor)
  • 'The Idea of Vulnerability in Healthcare Law and Ethics: From the Margins to the Mainstream' in Bedford and Herring (eds) Embracing Vulnerability (Routledge, forthcoming 2019)
  • 'Conscientious Objection, "Proper Medical Treatment" and Professionalism: The Limits of Accommodation for Conscience in Healthcare' in J Adenitire (ed) Religious Beliefs and Cosncientious Exemptions in a Liberal State (Hart, forthcoming 2019)
  • ‘Discovering dignity: unpacking the emotional content of killing narratives’ in H Conway and J Stannard (eds) The Emotional Dynamics of Law and Legal Discourse (Hart, 2016)
  •  ‘Locating Lawful Abortion on the Spectrum of Proper Medical Treatment’ in S Fovargue and A Mullock (eds.) The Legitimacy of Medical Treatment: What Role for the Medical Exception? (Routledge, 2015) 124-141

Peer-reviewed journal contributions

  • ‘Death benefits: Physician-assisted dying, justification, and the problem of posthumous interests” (in progress)
  • ‘Conscientious Objection, Professionalism and Vulnerability’ The New Bioethics (forthcoming, 2019) (with S Fovargue)

  • ‘Conscience as Agent-Integrity: A Defence of Conscience-Based Exemptions in the Healthcare Context’ (2016) Medical Law Review 24(4): 544–570 (with S Fovargue)

  • ‘Devolving Abortion Law’ (2016) Edinburgh Law Review 20(3): 399-404

  • ‘When Conscience Isn’t Clear: Greater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan and Another [2014] UKSC 68’ (2015) Medical Law Review
  • ‘Commentary: The Scope of the Conscience-Based Exemption in Section 4(1) of the Abortion Act 1967: Doogan and Wood v NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board [2013] CSIH 36’ (2014) Medical Law Review 22 (3): 409-421
  • ‘“In Good Conscience” Conscience-Based Exemptions and Proper Medical Treatment’ (2015) Medical Law Review 23(2):221-241 (with S Fovargue)
  • ‘Respect for human dignity as substantive basic norm’ (2014) International Journal of Law in Context, 10(1): 26-46



The idea of vulnerability in healthcare law and ethics : from the margins to the mainstream?
Neal Mary
Embracing Vulnerability (2020) (2020)
Guest Editorial
Neal Mary, Fovargue Sara, Smith Stephen W
The New Bioethics: A Multidisciplinary Journal of Biotechnology and the Body Vol 25, pp. 203-206 (2019)
Is conscientious objection incompatible with healthcare professionalism?
Neal Mary, Fovargue Sara
The New Bioethics Vol 25, pp. 221-235 (2019)
Conscientious objection, 'proper medical treatment' and professionalism : the limits of accommodation for conscience in healthcare
Neal Mary
Religious Beliefs and Conscientious Exemptions in a Liberal State (2019) (2019)
Conclusion : medical law re-written?
Smith Stephen W, Coggon John, Hobson Clark, Huxtable Richard, McGuinness Sheelagh, Miola José, Neal Mary
Ethical Judgments (2017) (2017)
Introduction - medicine in the courtroom : judges, ethics and the law
Smith Stephen W, Coggon John, Hobson Clark, Huxtable Richard, McGuinness Sheelagh, Miola José, Neal Mary
Ethical Judgments (2017) (2017)

More publications


Healthcare Law


Legal Theory / Jurisprudence

Theories of Property

Research interests

Healthcare Law and Bioethics

Legal Theory / Legal Philosophy

Human Rights

Theories of Property

Professional activities

Opposition to conscientious objection in healthcare
Death benefits: Clinically-assisted dying and the problem of justification
ACoRN Roundtable 2
Abortion Law in Scotland: Past, Present and Future
Physician assisted dying and the issue of justification

More professional activities


Understanding the extent of and limitations to conscientious objection by health care practitioners (Transformative Research Call)
Neal, Mary (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2020
Pharmacists' perceptions of ethical conflict and professional guidance in light of the revised General Pharmaceutical Council Standards of Conduct, Ethics and Performance
Neal, Mary (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2020
AHRC - Doctoral Training Partnership Scotland | Brown, Jonathan
Neal, Mary (Principal Investigator) Blackie, John (Co-investigator) Brown, Jonathan (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2014 - 25-Jan-2020
Digital Economy Hub | Harbinja, Edina
Edwards, Lilian (Principal Investigator) Neal, Mary (Co-investigator) Harbinja, Edina (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2012 - 18-Jan-2017

More projects