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 teaches and co-ordinates two Honours classes: Law, Persons and Property, and Issues in Healthcare Law and Ethics. She supervises research 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).



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 was recently Principal Investigator on two 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 was recently a Co-Investigator on an ESRC-funded project exploring professionals' attitudes to conscientious objection, working with colleagues in Liverpool and Glasgow.

Dr Neal was a member of the BMA Medical Ethics Committee 2016-22, and is currently a member of the editorial board of the journal The New Bioethics. In 2015 she advised the Scottish Parliamentary Committee scrutinising the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill. In 2022 she gave evidence to the Scottish Parliamentary Committee scrutinising a petition to amend the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018. She has also given evidence to the Isle of Man and New Zealand parliaments. She is currently chairing the Advisory Board of the CORALE project ('Conscientious Objection after Repeal: Abortion, Law and Ethics'), based at Trinity College Dublin. She is also currently a member of two other expert panels.



 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

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

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Personhood and Property in the Jurisprudence of Pregnancy, University of Cardiff

Award Date: 1 Jan 2005

Master of Laws, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 1999

Bachelor of Laws, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 1996


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


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