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 teaches and co-ordinates two Honours classes: Law, Persons and Property, and Issues in Healthcare Law and Ethics. She supervises reserach students in Healthcare Law and Ethics (particularly conscience in healthcare; beginning-of-life and end-of-life issues; the meaning and nature of healthcare/medical treatment, and the role of concepts like dignity, sanctity, choice, coercion, and consent in healthcare) and in Legal Theory (especially theories of property / theories of human rights).

She is currently a member of the BMA Medical Ethics Committee, and a member of the editorial board of the journal The New Bioethics. 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 the Accommodating Conscience Research Network (ACoRN) funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh; and was recently PI on 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, 2020)
  • '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, 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

  • Is Conscientious Objection Incompatible with healthcare professionalism?‘’ (2019) The New Bioethics 25(3): 221-235 (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


In good conscience : conscience-based exemptions and proper medical treatment
Fovargue Sara, Neal Mary
Medical Law Review Vol 23, pp. 221-241 (2015)
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
Neal Mary
Medical Law Review (2014)
Respect for human dignity as 'substantive basic norm'
Neal Mary
International Journal of Law in Context Vol 10, pp. 26-46 (2014)
Not gods but animals : human dignity and vulnerable subjecthood
Neal Mary
Liverpool Law Review Vol 23, pp. 177-200 (2012)
Dignity, law and language-games
Neal Mary
International Journal for the Semiotics of Law Vol 25, pp. 107-122 (2012)
Nothing and Not-Nothing : Law's ambivalent response to transformation and transgression at the beginning of life
Ford Mary
The Legal, Medical and Cultural Regulation of the Body Transformation and Transgression (2009) (2009)

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

David Price Memorial Seminar Series
Invited speaker
Law and Emotions
Invited speaker
'Making ethical decisions that value human life'
Opposition to conscientious objection in healthcare
Death benefits: Clinically-assisted dying and the problem of justification
ACoRN Roundtable 2

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
Accommodating Conscience Research Network (ACoRN)
Neal, Mary (Principal Investigator)
26-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)
Pharmacists' perceptions of ethical conflict and professional guidance in light of the revised General Pharmaceutical Council Standards of Conduct, Ethics and Performance
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