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

The aim of the Legal Transplants project is to explore the political and legislative processes surrounding the development of opt out (or ‘deemed consent’) systems for organ donation in the context of devolution, across the four UK nations.

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About the project

This socio-legal project will focus on 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 will investigate the values pursued by law reformers and the extent of policy learning between them. Through this, the project will generate a case study of how health law is made across the UK, offering a comparative insight into policy convergence in the area of organ donation, contrasting with the divergent responses to COVID-19.


This project is funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Small Research Grant (SRG21/210296).

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Principal Investigator

Professor John Harrington
Professor of Global Health Law, Cardiff School of Law and Politics
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Professor Anne-Maree Farrell
Chair of Medical Jurisprudence, Edinburgh Law School
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Ms Ruby Reed-Berendt
Research Associate, Edinburgh Law School
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Dr Matthew Watkins
Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Cardiff University


Roundtable at the Socio Legal Studies Association Conference, York 2022, on 7th April (Project Team)

Presentation to the Health and Medical Law Sub-Committee of the Law Society of Scotland, 18th May 2022 (Ruby Reed-Berendt)