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Professor Anne-Maree Farrell

Anne-Maree Farrell profile picture

Professor of Medical Jurisprudence

Director of Mason Institute

BA, LLB, BLitt, MA, PhD

Office hours:

Research Leave 2023-2024


SSRN: Papers

View my publications

Professor Anne-Maree Farrell is Chair of Medical Jurisprudence at Edinburgh Law School. She is the first woman to hold the Chair, which was first established over 210 years ago.

She admitted to legal practice as a solicitor in Ireland, England & Wales and Australia. Prior to becoming an academic, she worked as a lawyer in private legal practice, specialising in mass torts, product liability and clinical negligence.

Mason Institute

Professor Farrell is Director of the Mason Institute, which is an interdisciplinary research centre based at Edinburgh Law School. It focuses on ethics and law at the interface between health, medicine and the life sciences at a national and global scale. It provides internationally recognised academic and policy leadership in the socio-legal, medical and life science governance, and bioethics fields.

In line with the Institute’s commitment to academic and policy leadership, Professor Farrell is actively engaged in expert advisory work in law, ethics and governance issues in health and medicine.  This includes an appointment as a Commissioner to the Bingham Centre’s Independent Commission on UK Public Health Emergency Powers, in addition to appointments as a member of the British Medical Association (BMA)’s Medical Ethics Committee and the UK Home Office’s Biometrics and Forensic Ethics Group (BFEG). It has also involved the provision of informal and formal expert advice and commissioned research reports. Recent examples include co-authored reports provided to the UK Infected Blood Inquiry and the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry.

Research expertise

Professor Farrell's research expertise lies generally in health law and bioethics. She is particularly interested in the relationship between politics, law and regulation in health and medicine. She has specific interests in the following areas and would welcome inquiries about PhD supervision in such areas:

  • Public health and health security: law, ethics and risk
  • Devolution and health law
  • Human tissue: law, ethics and risk (blood, organs)
  • Clinical negligence &patient safety
  • Harm & redress: healthcare settings, online environments, no-fault schemes
  • Mental health law & policy

Professor Farrell has published widely in a range of internationally recognised journals and edited collections. Her sole-authored book, The Politics of Blood: Ethics Innovation and the Regulation of Risk (Cambridge University Press, 2012) was published in hardback in 2012 and in paperback in 2014. Other books include Health Law: Frameworks and Context (Cambridge University Press, 2017) with J Devereux, I Karpin and P Weller; Pioneering Healthcare Law: Essays in Honour of Margaret Brazier (Routledge, 2016) co-edited with C Stanton, S Devaney and A Mullock; European Law and New Health Technologies (Oxford University Press, 2013), co-edited with M Flear, T Hervey and T Murphy and  Organ Shortage: Ethics Law and Pragmatism  (Cambridge University Press, 2011), co-edited with D Price and M Quigley.

Research Projects

Professor Farrell has been successful in obtaining over £1.76 million in competitive funding from the following bodies (A-Z): Australian Research Council, British Academy, Economic and Social Research Council, Leverhulme Trust, Nuffield Foundation, Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Wellcome Trust. Funded projects have examined the regulation of human bodies/tissue; the relationship between health, technology and regulation; the law and ethics of organ donation and transplantation; clinical negligence litigation; no-fault compensation for medical injury; and cross-border access to healthcare.

Current research projects:

Public Health Ethics & Law Research Network (PHELN)

The aim of PHELN is to promote cross-disciplinary research in public health, ethics and law in the UK and Ireland. Key aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be examined during the course of the project include the values informing policy and law-making during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the vaccination programme; the nature and impact of the public-private provision in managing aspects of the pandemic; and human rights concerns. It involves an academic collaboration between colleagues based at the University of Edinburgh, University College Cork and Queen’s University Belfast, as well as liaison with the Public Health Ethics Special Interest Group, UK Faculty of Public Health. The project is jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Irish Research Council.

When Borders Change: Public Health, Trade and the Role of Law

This project aims to understand the shifting boundaries of the post-Brexit relationship between public health, trade and the law in the UK and Ireland, including North-South relations on the island of Ireland. Specifically it focuses on the law, ethics and the commercial determinants of health. It involves an academic collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and University College Cork, as well as liaison with the Public Health Ethics Special Interest Group, UK Faculty of Public Health and the Institute of Public Health, Ireland. The project is funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Legal Transplants and Policy Transfers: Legislating for Organ Donation in a Devolved UK

This project involves a socio-legal study of recent initiatives to introduce deemed consent regimes across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, contrasting these to evaluate the significance of the UK’s devolution settlement in health law. Through engagement with policy-makers and stakeholders via qualitative interviews, as well as reviewing parliamentary, policy and media outputs across the four nations, the project investigates the values pursued by law reformers and the extent of policy learning between them. The project is funded by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust.

Tech-Sex: The Technological Transformation of Sex: Improving Australia's Response

This project involves a socio-legal study of how new technologies are transforming the ways in which people seek and enact sexual connections and experience sexual intimacy. The project is being led by colleagues based at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society (ARCSHS). Professor Farrell is leading on the law strand of the project, examining the management of risk in online environments, as well as questions of redress arising from online harms. The ARCSHS project website can be accessed here. The project is funded by the Australian Research Council.

Twitter: @amfarrell101