Dr Stephen W. Smith

Photograph of Dr Stephen Smith

Birmingham Law School

Contact details

+44 (0)121 414 7388
+44 (0)121 414 3585
Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT
United Kingdom

Dr Stephen Smith has recently completed a major work exploring the bioethical and legal ramifications of end of life decisions.


  • BA
  • JD (Washington University School of Law)
  • PhD (Manchester)


Stephen Smith joined Birmingham Law School as a Lecturer in 2003. Prior to that, he completed his PhD at the University of Manchester on the impact of autonomy and paternalism on physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in 2003. He also completed a Juris Doctorate degree at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. which he received in 1998. He also has a B.A. in Psychology from Mercyhurst College which he received in 1995.


  •  Bioethics (LLB, module leader)
  •  Jurisprudence (LLB, module leader)
  •  Criminal Law & Medicine (LLM, module leader)

Postgraduate supervision

  • Bioethics
  • Medical Law; Health Care Law
  • Jurisprudence

Current doctoral supervision

Dr Smith is currently supervising two doctoral students undertaking research in the following areas:

  • Foetal sex selection using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis for non-medical reasons
  • Confidentiality and truth telling: bioethics and judicial decision making


Dr Smith specialises in medico-ethical issues at the end of life and is currently writing a book exploring the bioethical and legal ramifications of end of life decisions. He has given papers at seminars and international conferences in Sydney, Manchester, Toronto, London and Birmingham.

Other activities

Dr Smith is the Head of the LLB for Graduates Programme.



Chapters in Books

  • Stephen W. Smith, Dignity as a socially constructed value in The Criminal Law and Bioethical Conflict: Walking the Tightrope (Amel Alghrani, Suzanne Ost and Rebecca Bennett, eds.) (Cambridge University Press) (forthcoming).
  • The Value of Life: George Bailey and the life not worthy of being lived in Orientations on the Right to Life: Law, Politics and Ethics (John Yorke ed.) (2009) (Ashgate Publishing).
  • Precautionary Reasoning in Determining Moral Worthin Law and Bioethics, Current Legal Issues, Volume 11 (Michael Freeman ed.) (2008) (Oxford University Press).
  • Dignity: The Difference between Abortion and Neonaticide for the Severely Disabled, in The Criminal Justice System and Health Care (Charles Erin & Suzanne Ost eds.) (2007) (Oxford University Press).

Peer-reviewed Articles

  • H. Draper, J. Ives, H. Pall, S. Smith, S. Damery, and S. Wilson, Reporting end-of-life practice: can we trust doctors to be honest?, 23 Palliative Medicine 673 (2009).
  • Empirical research in the debate on physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia, 2 Clinical Ethics 129 (2007).
  • Some Realism about End of Life: the Current Prohibition and the Euthanasia Underground 33 The American Journal of Law and Medicine 55 (2007).
  • Fallacies of the Logical Slippery Slope in the Debate on Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, 13 Medical Law Review 224 (2005).
  • Evidence for the Practical Slippery Slope in the Debate on Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, 13 Medical Law Review 17 (2005).
  • The Killing of Severely Disabled Newborns: the Spectre Behind the Legalisation of Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia? 24 Medicine and Law 791 (2005).

Other articles

  • Assisted Suicide and the Law: what Every Nurse Should Know, 19 British Journal of Nursing 858 (2010).
  • New Guidelines on Assisted Suicide: Will Nurses be Prosecuted?, 18 British Journal of Nursing 1396 (2009).