Mary Pillay

Mary Pillay

Birmingham Law School
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

Title of thesis: Posthumous tissue donation for research purposes: A legal and ethical perspective

Supervisors: Professor Jean McHale and Dr Leon McRae


  • BSL (Bachelor of Social and Legal Sciences) - Symbiosis Law School, Pune University, India
  • LLB – Symbiosis Law School, Pune University, India
  • Diploma in Personnel Management – KCL College, Mumbai, India
  • MA in Applied Psychology – Annamalai University, Annamalainagar, India LLM (General) – University of Birmingham, UK


In an early recognition of the importance of possessing the skills necessary to identify ‘how people worked best’ within an ethical and legal framework, I pursued a Bachelor’s in Law with a Diploma in Personnel Management (in parallel) and subsequently a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology and a Master’s degree in Law. Much of my professional experience has been in rather diverse fields. Having worked as a Business Development Manager for a software company allowed me to interact with creative thinkers ranging from the field of information technology to advertising. As a lawyer at Delhi High Court, India, my experience ranged from Alternative Dispute Resolution to Public-Interest Litigation. I am currently a Director of a Medico-Legal Company in the UK.

Doctoral research

PhD title Posthumous tissue donation for research purposes: A legal and ethical perspective
Supervisor Professor Jean V. McHale
Course Law PhD / PhD by Distance Learning / MPhil / MJur


In an aging society, dementia is the health crisis of our generation and a lack of research resources, especially brain tissue, could potentially jeopardise public health. My research undertakes an international comparative study of the practices followed by brain banks; from the recruitment of participants consenting to donate their brains posthumously for dementia research to the brain retrieval processes within a legal an ethical framework. While the question of property rights in the brain is touched upon, the research mainly focuses on attitudes towards posthumous brain donation and considers the possibility of an opt-out posthumous brain donation system for research.

Other activities

  • Completed the course ‘Introduction to learning and teaching in higher education for postgraduates’ at the University’s Centre for Learning and Academic development
  • Attended ‘Perfect People’ the IAS workshop at the University of Birmingham