Dr Laura Downey

Dr Laura Downey

Birmingham Law School
Research Fellow

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Laura is a Research Fellow  working with Professor Muireann Quigley on the Wellcome Trust funded project “Everyday cyborgs 2.0: Law’s boundary work and alternative legal futures”. The interdisciplinary project analyses the practical and normative issues of applying binaries in law, such as that between “persons” and “things”, to implanted smart and medical devices and to persons with such implants.  Her research interests in general relate to the regulation of new and emerging (bio)technology, in particular the dynamics of legal change as influenced by and influencing of sociotechnical change.


  • LLB - University of Edinburgh
  • LLM by Research - University of Edinburgh
  • PhD in Law - University of Edinburgh


Before joining Birmingham Law School in 2020 Laura completed her PhD in law from the University of Edinburgh. Her thesis, entitled “Emerging Legal Concepts at the Nexus of Law, Technology and Society: A Case Study in Identity” drew on interdisciplinary perspectives to analyse the dynamics of legal change and its relationship to the sociotechnical environment. Whilst at Edinburgh she taught seminars on Medical Jurisprudence at Honours and Masters level. She has also previously held positions as Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief of SCRIPTed-A Journal of Law Technology and Society.


Laura’s work focuses on understanding the interaction between law and regulation, and the broader sociotechnical environment. In particular, she is interested in developing an understanding of how law and specific legal concepts develop in this environment with a view to aiding practical questions as to how law and regulation can effectively intervene in innovation, and normative questions as to how law and technology should be guided. She also draws on the concept of identity in law in relation to health research and biotechnological advances. Her broader interests include the regulation of technology in general and medical law. She is currently working in the Everyday Cyborgs 2.0 Wellcome Trust funded project, looking in particular at the regulation of medical implants.


Recent publications


Downey, L, O'Donnell, S, Melvin, T & Quigley, M 2023, 'A European regulatory pathway for Tidepool loop following clearance in the United States?', Diabetic Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1111/dme.15246

Quigley, M, Downey, L, Mahmoud, Z & McHale, J 2023, 'The Shape of Medical Devices Regulation in the United Kingdom? Brexit and Beyond', Law, Technology and Humans, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 21-42. <https://lthj.qut.edu.au/article/view/3102>

Dickson, R, Bell, J, Dar, A, Downey, L, Quigley, M & Moore, V 2021, '#WeAreNotWaiting: DIY artificial pancreas systems and challenges for the law', Diabetic Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1111/dme.14715


Quigley, M & Downey, L 2022, Integrating the Biological and the Technological: Time to Move Beyond Law’s Binaries? in E Dove & N Nic Shuibhne (eds), Law and Legacy in Medical Jurisprudence: Essays in Honour of Graeme Laurie. Cambridge University Press, pp. 279-306. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108903295.015


Downey, L, Dickson, R, Quigley, M & McHale, J 2020, 'Attracting Investment and Protecting Patients with Smart Regulation', Reformer Thoughts.


Quigley, M, Downey, L & Roberts, J 2023, 'Regulatory Futures and Medical Devices: Where Next for Europe and the United Kingdom?', Law, Technology and Humans, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 1-4. https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.3174.

Other contribution

Downey, L, Quigley, M, O'Donnell, S & Melvin, T 2023, Open Source Automated Insulin Delivery: Potential Pathways to Regulatory Approval.. <https://blog.bham.ac.uk/everydaycyborgs/wp-content/uploads/sites/95/2023/12/OS-AID-Pathways-Approval-V4.pdf>

Downey, L, Dickson, R & Quigley, M 2021, Responses to the Law Commission’s 14th Programme of Law Reform Consultation.. <https://blog.bham.ac.uk/everydaycyborgs/wp-content/uploads/sites/95/2024/01/Responses-to-the-Law-Commission-16.08.23-FORMATTED.pdf>

Downey, L, Dickson, R, Roberts, J, Quigley, M & McHale, J 2021, Responses to the MHRA Consultation on the Future Regulation of Medical Devices in the UK.. <https://blog.bham.ac.uk/everydaycyborgs/wp-content/uploads/sites/95/2022/04/MHRA-Consultation-QA-24.01.22-website-version.pdf>

Quigley, M, McHale, J, Dickson, R & Downey, L 2020, Medicines and Medical Devices Bill 2019-20 Briefing Note. University of Birmingham. <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/college-artslaw/law/news/UoB-Briefing-Feb2020-MMDB-Quigley-et-al.pdf>

Quigley, M, McHale, J, Dickson, R & Downey, L 2020, Memorandum submitted to the House of Lords Delegated Powers Committee..

Quigley, M, McHale, J, Dickson, R & Downey, L 2020, Written Evidence Submitted to the Medicines and Medical Devices Public Bill Committee.. <https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmpublic/Medicinesandmedical/memo/MMDB13.pdf>

View all publications in research portal


Migration, European Union law, human rights law, medical devices and law

Media experience

Rachael has had her work used in pieces by the BBC and an editorial in The Irish Times. She has been interviewed on local radio about research activities and took part in a television discussion on the impact of Brexit on human rights on the freeview channel NVTV.


Human rights assessment of policies, Brexit and the criminal justice system.

Policy experience

Submission of written evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee for their inquiry into Home Office preparations for Brexit in August 2019.