Dr Sheelagh McGuinness

Birmingham Fellow

Birmingham Law School

Photo of Dr Sheelagh McGuinness, courtesy of Wellcome Images

Contact details

Telephone +44 (0) 121 414 5126

Fax +44 (0) 121 414 3585

Email s.mcguinness@bham.ac.uk

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Dr Sheelagh McGuinness is a Birmingham Fellow based in the Centre for Health Law, Science & Policy, at Birmingham Law School. Her research interests span law and bioethics (particularly reproduction, medical migration, and disability) focusing on the interplay between law, ethics, and policy.

[Image of Dr Sheelagh McGuinness courtesy of Wellcome Images]


  • BA Philosophy & Legal Science (Galway)
  • LLB (Galway)
  • MA in Health Care Ethics & Law (Manchester)
  • PhD (Manchester)


Before joining Birmingham as a Birmingham Fellow Sheelagh was a lecturer in the Centre for Professional Ethics and the School of Law at Keele University.



Health and Human Rights

Gender and Crime

Socio-Legal Theory



Introduction to the Study of Law

Postgraduate supervision

Sheelagh currently supervises three doctoral students. She is be happy to supervise postgraduate research in any of her areas of interest -

The legal and ethical issues raised by:

  • reproduction and law;
  • abortion;
  • assisted reproductive technologies;
  • biotechnologies more generally;
  • embryos;
  • organ donation


Sheelagh’s research interests are in health law, ethics and policy. She is currently working on two main research projects:

  • Reproductive Justice
  • Medical Migration and Health Crimes

Other activities

Professional service

Member of the:

  • Editorial Board of Feminist Legal Studies
  • Independent Ethics and Governance Council of UK Biobank
  • Medical Ethics Committee of the Royal College of General Practitioners
  • Working group convened by the Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group exploring the subject ‘organ tourism
  • Ethics Advisory Board of SysMedBio (FP7/2007-2013) No 305564
  • Humanities and Social Sciences Ethics Review Committee, University of Birmingham

Grant income

  • (with Fran Amery) 2013: Awarded £5260 from the Wellcome Trust to support a workshop entitled ‘Beyond the Rights and Wrongs of Abortion: Access as a Question of Reproductive Justice’ (Wellcome Award WT101710AIA)
  • Primary Investigator (with Dr. Tom Walker as co-investigator) 2010: Awarded: £18,671 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to support a scoping study entitled ‘CHORDS - Community: Healthcare Organisation and Regulation in a Diverse Society’.
  • (with Dr. Tom Walker & Professor Stephen Wilkinson) 2010: Awarded £5000 from the Wellcome Trust to support a workshop entitled ‘Consent and Organ Donation’ (Wellcome Award WT095020MA).
  • (with Professor Michael Thomson) 2009: Awarded £1951 from the Wellcome Trust to support a workshop entitled ‘Conscientious Objection in Public Life’ (Wellcome Award WT090760MF).


Publications in peer-reviewed journals

Commentaries; review articles; book reviews; non-peer reviewed & shorter papers

Chapters in edited volumes

  • ‘The Construction of the Embryo and Implications for Law’ in Muireann Quigley, Sarah Chan, and John Harris (Eds.) Stem Cells: New frontiers in science and ethics ( World Scientific Publishing, 2012)
  • An Ethical Framework for Emotion-Related Computing’ in Petta, Paolo; Pelachaud, Catherine; Cowie, Roddy (Eds.) Emotion Oriented Systems: The Humaine Handbook (Springer, 2011)
  • Phil Dyer and Sheelagh McGuinness, ‘The Organ Allocation Algorithm’ in Farrell, A.M., Price, D., and Quigley, M. (Eds.) Organ Shortage: Ethics Law and Pragmatism. (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Journal editing

  • Special section of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethic on ‘Consent and Organ Donation’. [Volume 22, Number 1 / January 2013]
  • Co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Identity in the Information Society (IDIS) on ‘Genetics, Information, and Identity’. [Volume 3, Number 3 / December 2010]

Back to top