Magdalena Furgalska

Magdalena Furgalska

Birmingham Law School
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


  • MA Social Research, University of Birmingham, Distinction
  • LLM Law, University of Birmingham, Distinction
  • LLB Law, University of Hull, First Class


I am currently a PhD Candidate at the Law school. I am fully funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC MGS DTP 1+3 Scholarship). As part of this scholarship, I completed an MA in Social Research. For my dissertation, I explored opinions and attitudes of university students about refusing medical treatment in advance of losing decisional capacity.

Prior to starting and after finishing my degree in law, I worked as an Assistant Practice Manager at a leading set of Barristers Chambers in Birmingham. During my LLM, I took part in the Birmingham Law School and the UN Women Project on Constitutional Law and Women’s Rights. My research focused on the right to health and abortion in Kenyan Constitution.

In addition, since 2016 I have been working as a Research Assistant on various projects (University of Birmingham, Durham University and the University of Kent). Examples of research include: assisting Professor Rosie Harding on her two research projects, Everyday Decisions and Supported Will-Making undertaken for the Law Commission.  At present I am a Research Assistant to Professor Clare McGlynn (Durham Law School) and Professor Erika Rackley (University of Kent) on the Image-Based Abuse project which is funded by the Australian Research Council. I have also worked as a Research Assistant to various law professors on topics relating to: supported decision-making, medical law, bioethics, abortion law, human rights and counterterrorism

Doctoral research

PhD title
Achieving Social Justice for Psychiatric Survivors: Capabilities and Advance Consent in Mental Health Law
Professor Rosie Harding and Dr Emma Oakley
Law PhD / PhD by Distance Learning / MPhil / MJur


My research is concerned with improving rights of and seeking justice for psychiatric survivors. In particular, I am interested in the issue of advance consent to treatment in mental health law. Advance consent to treatment means that psychiatric survivors may choose to bind themselves to treatment in advance of losing mental capacity. The issue of advance consent is currently on the law reform agenda in England and Wales. The Law Commission recommended the introduction of an advance consent provision in their 2017 report on Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty. However, no provision of this nature has been included in the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill. In the Wessely review of the Mental Health Act (December 2018), the introduction of an Advance Choice Document has been recommended, which would allow psychiatric survivors to voice their views about any future inpatient care and treatment, which the review recommends should be honoured “unless there are compelling reasons why not”.

Advance consent is therefore a contemporary and timely issue. Nevertheless, the voices of psychiatric survivors are under-represented in the literature and recent developments. The aim of my research is to address this gap by exploring lived experiences of psychiatric survivors. In doing so, I undertake a socio-legal enquiry into advance consent and employ an empirical methodology comprising of narrative and visual research methods.

Research interests: mental health law, mental capacity law, disability rights, human rights, bioethics and medical law.

Other activities

Research papers presented

  • Magdalena Furgalska, Completing the Picture of the Constitutional Right to Safe Abortion under Kenyan 2010 Constitution, Paper prepared for Ensuring Gender Equality in Constitutions, UN Women and US Institute of Peace, April 2017, Washington DC. 

Membership of organisations

  • Member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association
  • PGR Representative at Birmingham Law School
  • Member of the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Management Group for Strategic Planning and Funding

Research Grants received

  • Full ESRC 1+3 Scholarship for MA in Social Research and PhD in Socio-Legal Studies
  • Birmingham Law School Research Grant for the Advance Decisions Workshop, co-organised with Professor Rosie Harding
  • University of Birmingham College of Arts and Law Scholarship Award of £2000 for my LLM


  • Rosie Harding, Ezgi Taşcıoğlu & Magdalena Furgalska (2019) Supported Will Making in Socio-Legal Perspective Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham (forthcoming)
  • Magdalena Furgalska, “Completing the Picture of the Constitutional Right to Safe Abortion under Kenyan 2010 Constitution” (2017) Birmingham Law School Working Paper prepared for Ensuring Gender Equality in Constitutions, UN Women and US Institute of Peace. Available online.