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Personal profile

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


Teaching Interests

Healthcare Law


Legal Theory / Jurisprudence

Theories of Property

Research Interests

Healthcare Law and Bioethics

Legal Theory / Legal Philosophy

Human Rights

Theories of Property

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Cardiff

Master of Laws, University of Glasgow

Bachelor of Laws, University of Glasgow


  • Medical Law
  • Healthcare Law
  • Bioethics
  • Theories of Property
  • Personhood
  • Human Dignity
  • Jurisprudence
  • Legal Theory
  • Law

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Mary Neal is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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human dignity Social Sciences
human rights Social Sciences
physician's care Social Sciences

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Projects 2012 2020

Selected Research Output 2003 2019

13 Citations (Scopus)

In good conscience: conscience-based exemptions and proper medical treatment

Fovargue, S. & Neal, M., 2015, In : Medical Law Review. 23, 2, p. 221-241 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
physician's care
Refusal to Participate
5 Citations (Scopus)
8 Citations (Scopus)

Respect for human dignity as 'substantive basic norm'

Neal, M., 1 Mar 2014, In : International Journal of Law in Context. 10, 1, p. 26-46 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
human dignity
legal system
15 Citations (Scopus)

Not gods but animals: human dignity and vulnerable subjecthood

Neal, M., Nov 2012, In : Liverpool Law Review. 23, 3, p. 177-200 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
human dignity
moral philosophy
8 Citations (Scopus)

Dignity, law and language-games

Neal, M., Mar 2012, In : International Journal for the Semiotics of Law . 25, 1, p. 107-122 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

human dignity
human being

Nothing and Not-Nothing: Law's ambivalent response to transformation and transgression at the beginning of life

Ford, M., Dec 2009, The Legal, Medical and Cultural Regulation of the Body: Transformation and Transgression. Smith, S. W. & Deazley, R. (eds.). p. 21-46 26 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

sociology studies
cultural studies
5 Citations (Scopus)

Evans v United Kingdom: what implications for the jurisprudence of pregnancy?

Ford, M., 2008, In : Human Rights Law Review. 8, 1, p. 171-184 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

human rights
4 Citations (Scopus)

A property model of pregnancy

Ford, M., 2005, In : International Journal of Law in Context. 1, 3, p. 261-293 32 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

decision making

The consent model of pregnancy: deadlock undiminished

Ford, M., 2005, In : McGill Law Journal. 50, 3, p. 619-668 50 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Legal Abortion
11 Citations (Scopus)

The personhood paradox and the 'right to die'

Ford, M., 2005, In : Medical Law Review. 13, 1, p. 80-101 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Right to Die
human being
Persistent Vegetative State
quality of life


Legal aspects of transmission of digital assets on death

Author: Harbinja, E., 1 Jan 2015

Supervisor: Neal, M. (Supervisor) & (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

The concept of human dignity and its use in legal and political discourses on commercial sex

Author: Cunningham, S., 1 Oct 2016

Supervisor: Scoular, J. (Supervisor) & Neal, M. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Selected Activities 2003 2019

David Price Memorial Seminar Series

Mary Neal (Invited speaker)
17 Sep 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

Law and Emotions

Mary Neal (Invited speaker)
26 Mar 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference