Catherine Hale Barrister-at-law, MSc, PGCE, LLB (Hons)

Catherine Hale

Institute of Clinical Sciences
Senior Lecturer in Medical Law and Ethics

Contact details

Medicine, Ethics, Society and History (MESH)
Room 127, 90 Vincent Drive
College of Medical and Dental Science
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, B15 2TT

Catherine Hale is an influential legal expert on issues related to health care, particularly current or topical ethical issues. As a regular speaker at external events and media commentator she has provided lectures and commentary on key health care and legal issues.

She is a key player in the medical undergraduate curriculum having both extensive management committee membership and teaching responsibilities. Her role within the Medical School is to not only give students an understanding of their legal obligations but also to equip them with the ethical reasoning skills and personal qualities in order to achieve appropriate standards of conduct.

As such she is an Associate of the Integrated Studies Unit, within the Department of Primary Care and General Practice, which specialises in how to communicate with patients effectively in clinical practice. She is also a member of the Institute of Medical Law, Law School, University of Birmingham, an Associate of The Institute of Clinical Leadership, University of Warwick and Consultant to the Ministry of Defence.


  • MSc Health Care Ethics, University of Birmingham 
  • Post Grad Cert in Higher and Further Education, University of Greenwich 
  • Barrister-at-Law, The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, London
  • Bar Vocational Course, Inns of Court School of Law, London
  • RN, Dudley Road Hospital, Birmingham
  • LLB (Hons), University of Warwick



Catherine originally came to the Centre for Biomedical Ethics based within Primary Care Clinical Sciences at the University of Birmingham in 1998 as a part-time post-graduate student, whilst working as a lecturer part-time teaching health care ethics as well as law, including professional legal qualifications for solicitors, legal executives and paralegals.

Upon completing her MSc in Health Care Ethics in 2000 she obtained a full-time lectureship in Medical Law and Ethics at the University of Birmingham and is now a Senior Lecturer within the Medicine, Ethics, Society and History (MESH) group. During her career at the University of Birmingham she has taught and administered a wide variety of programmes particularly within the Medical School and continues to specialise in medical law, combining her previous clinical experience especially as a transplant co-ordinator, with her considerable teaching and legal expertise.


Catherine continues to be a key player in the medical undergraduate curriculum. Her current University teaching management responsibilities include: Deputy Lead & Member of Special Study Component Management Group MBChB 1-5; Member of MBChB  Phase 1 Management Group, Phase 1 MBChB  Committee, MBChB 5 Committee, and GEC Committee. She is Module Co-ordinator for MBChB2 Medicine in Society: Decision Making Module, Special Project Module Crime and Medicine, compulsory final year Special Study Module in Ethics and Law, and Discipline Strand Lead for the Graduate Entry Programme.

She continues to be involved with post-graduate teaching and mentoring in law, ethics and personal development across the University, including on the following programmes: MSc (Health Sciences), MSc in Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility (Business School) Continuing Professional Development- dentists (Dental School), Continuing Professional Development- GPs (Department of Primary Care and General practice).

Teaching Programmes


Catherine's ethical and legal research interests include prescribing, discrimination in health care, professional roles and end of life issues.


She is currently working in collaboration with Dundee Medical School and colleagues at Birmingham to under take research into ethical issues encountered by medical students in their elective placements.

She is also drafting a paper commissioned by the British Journal of Nursing on Ethical and Legal Issues for Physician Assistants

Other activities

2010-Present: Associate Lecturer: Institute of Clinical Leadership, The University of Warwick Medical School. Completed 10 lectures (have also been invited to do 6 lectures this Academic year): Medical Leadership and Management:Lectured on all 5 levels of the Medical Leadership Competency Framework: 

  • Level 1 & 2 ‘Ethics of Personal Qualities & Working With Others’
  • Level 3 & 4 ‘How Law and Ethics Set & Improve Patient Safety in Medicine’
  • Level 5 Lecture ‘Setting Direction for the NHS: Understanding the impact of the Health and Social Bill/Act 2012

24.02.2010:     Lecture: ‘Ethical and Legal Issues in Clinical Practice’, Physician Assistant Course, University of Wolverhampton

20.01.2009:     Lecture: ‘Ethical and Legal Clinical Case Analysis’  Network Grand Ward Round of Midlands Neonatologists- Heartlands Hospital Trust, East Birmingham

2005- 2007:     Series of Lectures on Foundation Year 1 and Foundation Year 2 Post-Graduate Medical training for West Midlands Post-Graduate Deanery: ‘Ethical and Legal Issues Update’: Redditch Hospital Post Graduate Centre, Good Hope Hospital Post Graduate Centre, Selly Oak Hospital Post Graduate Centre, Sandwell Hospital Post Graduate Centre, City Hospital Post Graduate Centre, Heartlands Hospital Post Graduate Centre, Hereford Hospital Post Graduate Centre

10.03.2005:     Lecture: ‘Criminalisation of Medical Error’, Royal Society of Medicine

2004-2007:      Lecture Series: ‘Fraud in Research- The Ethics of Research’, Wellcome Trust

23.10.2004:     Lecture:  ‘Legal Aspects of Prescribing’, Conference on Non-Medical Prescribing in Mental Health: South Staffordshire Healthcare NHS Trust

05.10.2003:     Lecture:  ‘Legal and Ethical Issues’ Overcoming the Language Barrier in Healthcare Conference: UCL Medical School & King’s Fund

19.05.2002:     Lecture: ‘Legal Aspects of Extended Roles and Supplementary Prescribers’, Conference on Nurse Prescribers: Staffordshire University

14.11. 2002:    Lecture: ‘Clinical Negligence’, Centre for Defence Medicine

01.08.2001:     Lecture: ‘Legal and Ethical Issues in Clinical Governance’ Conference on Clinical Governance: College of Pharmacy Practice

17.05.2001:     Lecture: ‘Legal Aspects of Clinical Governance’, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

2000- 2001:     Series of lectures: MSc Nursing, The University of Central England


Hale C and Singh S (2011) Ethical and legal issues in prescribing module: Script Project: Online Learning package now included in Foundation Year Medical Training.Commissioned by Strategic Health Authority in collaboration with Aston, Birmingham and Warwick University: independently refereed, published online at: 

Hale C (2007) 'Recent thinking about end of life issues' Best Practice and Research Clinical Anaesthesiolgy 20:605-17 Elsevier

Hale C (2005) ‘Legal Aspects of Prescribing’ Abstract, Conference Proceedings Non-Medical Prescribing in Mental Health: South Staffordshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Baines D and Hale C (2004) ‘How to Build a Professional Network’ The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 273:258-259

Baines D and Hale C (2004) ‘Use Network Theory to Develop Services’ The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 272: 222-223

Baines D and Hale C (2004) ‘How should community pharmacists be paid under the new contract?’ The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 273: 119-120

Baines D and Hale C (2004) ‘Pharmacy economics: are proposals for a national contract already redundant?’ The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 273: 89-90

Hale C (2003) ‘Legal and Ethical Issues’ Abstract, Conference Proceedings of Overcoming the Language Barrier in HealthCare: UCL Medical School King’s Fund

Baines D, Kay A, Hale C & Goodyer L (2003) ‘OFT the Beaten Track?’ The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 270: 122-123

Hale C (2003) ‘Chapter 4, Confidentiality, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care’ p47-63 in Draper H and Scott W (2003) Ethics in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Butterworth Heinemann

Hale C (2002) ‘Legal Aspects of Extended Roles and Supplementary Prescribers’ Abstract, Conference Proceedings on Nurse Prescribers: Staffordshire University

Hale C (2001) ‘Legal and Ethical Issues in Clinical Governance’ Abstract, Conference Proceedings on Clinical Governance: College of Pharmacy Practice



  • Law and rights
  • Medical and Health Care related legal and ethical issues

Media experience

Catherine is frequently asked by both TV and radio for her opinion on legal matters especially in relation to to health care. Recordings are available for:

Central ITV News Interview: Patient Consent and Right 'not to know' 

BBC West Midlands Radio Interview: Legal issues surrounding a ‘Do Not Resuscitate Order tattoo’

BBC Radio Interview: Law on Abortion and Cleft palate deformities