Dr Leon McRae



Birmingham Law School

Photograph of Dr Leon McRae

Contact details

Telephone +44 (0)121 414 3106

Fax +44 (0)121 414 3585

Email l.mcrae@bham.ac.uk

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Dr Leon McRae researches in the areas of mental health law (criminal and civil context), criminal law, criminal justice and health care law. He is particularly interested in the legal and medical regulation of psychopathy; the framing of responsibility in the criminal law, particularly in respect of developments in neuroscientific research; the relationship between medical and lay knowledge and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic health conditions (especially chronic fatigue syndrome and heavy metal toxicity).

Feedback and office hours

Semester 2: Monday, 1-3pm

If you can’t make these times, please e-mail me to arrange an appointment (l.mcrae@bham.ac.uk)


  • PhD (University of Nottingham)
  • MA in Socio-legal and Criminological Research (University of Nottingham)
  • LLB (University of Leicester)


Dr Leon McRae joined Birmingham Law School in 2011, having previously taught at Keele University and the University of Nottingham. He completed his LLB at the University of Leicester with first class honours, before being awarded an Economic and Social Research Council studentship to undertake postgraduate study at the University of Nottingham. In 2007, he received an MA in Socio-legal and Criminological Research (with distinction). In 2011, he was awarded a doctorate, after completing his thesis on ‘The Rehabilitation of Personality Disordered Offenders: A Foucauldian Analysis’.


  • Criminal law (LLB)
  • Mentally disordered offenders (LLM - module leader)
  • Dissertations: mental health law, criminal law, criminal justice, sports law (non-commercial aspects)

Postgraduate supervision

  • Mental health law
  • Criminal law
  • Health care law

Leon McRae is currently supervising a doctoral student undertaking research in the area of dementia research and mental capacity law. Dr. McRae isn't supervising dissertation students in 2015-16.


Dr Leon McRae’s research interests are in mental health law, criminal law, criminal justice and aspects of health care law. His most recent work has focused on the legal and medical governance of criminal psychopaths. In 2013, his article 'Rehabilitating Antisocial Personalities: Treatment through Self-Governance Strategies' was awarded Best Overall Publication flowing from work during doctoral studies or as part of a doctoral dissertation by the Institute of Mental Health, based in Nottingham. The work was based on an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded study looking into the therapeutic, legal and relational consequences of treating criminal psychopaths in secure hospital settings under the Mental Health Act 1983.

He is also working on a project looking at why lay knowledge and experience of chronic health conditions is typically disqualified by medical practitioners. One aspect of this work is to provide a socio-legal framework to understand why mercury detoxification products are increasingly facing heavy regulation, despite reports of their efficacy among parents of autistic children. A second aspect of this work is to explicate the factors that tend towards the discreditation of sufferers’ self-understanding of the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/ME and how they should be treated.

Other activities

  • Deputy Director of Postgraduate Research Programmes
  • Fellow of the Institute of Mental Health, Nottingham



  • McRae, L. (forthcoming) ‘The Personality Disorder Offender Pathway: Risking Rehabilitation?’ Medical Law Review.
  • McRae, L. (2013) 'Admitting offenders with antisocial personality disorder to a medium secure unit: a qualitative study of multidisciplinary team decision-making.' Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 24(2): 215-232.
  • McRae, L. (2013) 'Rehabilitating antisocial personalities: treatment through self-governance strategies.' Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 24(1): 48-70.
  • McRae, L. (2009) ‘Withholding Medical Records without Explanation: A Foucauldian Reading of Public Interest.’ Medical Law Review, 7: 438-46.
  • McRae, L. (2009) ‘Assessing the Viability of Treatment Rights for Offenders with Personality Disorder’. Personality and Mental Health, 3: 172-82 (c. 8,000 words).

Book contributions

  • McRae, L. (forthcoming) Forensic neuropsychology: the legal implications. In: A. Beech, A. J. Carter, R. Mann & P. Rothstein (eds). The Wiley Handbook of Forensic Neuroscience. John Wiley & Sons: Chichester (c. 11,000 words).
  • McRae, L. (2014) ‘M’Naghten Rules’, ‘Just Deserts’ and ‘Expert Witnesses’. In: P. Taylor, K. Corteen and S. Morley (eds). A Companion to Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Risk. The Policy Press: University of Bristol. 
  • McRae, L (2013) Mental health nursing: the legal perspective. In: J. Tingle & A. Cribb (eds). Nursing Law and Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell, 4th ed., pp. 201-235.

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