Dr Kirsty Moreton

Dr Kirsty Moreton

Birmingham Law School
Associate Professor in Law

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Moreton’s research tackles questions of social justice by focusing on areas of human interaction within marginalised groups, such as offenders with Anti-Social Personality Disorder, children, pregnant women and people receiving palliative care and at the end-of-life. She adopts a socio-legal approach to research, bringing together doctrinal law and real-world practice through a theoretical lens of feminist ethics.  Her current projects focus on healthcare-decision making for and by children and adolescents and she has written recently on transgender healthcare and the administration of puberty blockers to children, and adolescent decision-making at the end of life. She is currently working on a project on decision-making within paediatric palliative care. She is an experienced teacher of medical ethics and law for practitioners and often collaborates with external partners, such as a recent empirical project on the use of hospice care for those with dementia in conjunction with St Giles Hospice and Douglas Macmillan Hospice, and as an invited speaker at the 2022 Paediatric Critical Care Society Annual Scientific Conference.


  • PhD (Birmingham)
  • LLM Criminal Law and Criminal Justice (Birmingham)
  • Barrister at Law – Grays Inn (Call 1996)
  • Bar Vocational Course (Inns of Court School of Law)
  • LLB (University of Wales – Aberystwyth)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • PGCert Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Keele)


Dr Moreton is a non-practising barrister and joined Birmingham Law School as an Associate Professor in 2022. She was previously a lecturer in Law and Ethics at Keele University from 2015 and was the Director of the MA in Medical Ethics and Law and member of the Centre for Professional Ethics at Keele. She completed her PhD at the University of Birmingham on ‘The Ethics of Care and Healthcare Decision-Making in Mid-Childhood’. Her LLM in Criminal Law and Justice was also studied at Birmingham, with her dissertation on the topic of ‘Mad, Bad or Dangerous?: Tracing the Journey of a Personality-Disordered Offender through the Criminal Justice System in a Modern Risk Society’ being nominated for the Howard League for Penal Reform National John Sunley Prize. Dr Moreton was called to the Bar by Grays Inn in 1996.



  • Law, Justice and Ethics (Module Lead)
  • Family Law


  • Introduction to Legal Research

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Moreton is interested in supervising Doctoral Students in the areas of healthcare law, particularly decision-making, child and adolescent healthcare, pregnancy and reproduction, and palliative care. She also has interests in criminal law relating to sexual offences, and intersections with medical law. Topics utilising feminist and care ethics are also of interest.
Previously supervised to completion:
- Wendy Suffield, ‘Reconsidering the Moral Status of the pre-conscious fetus: a multi-criterial, multi-level approach’ (Keele)
Other Supervision:
- ‘Criminal Law response to adolescent sexual activity and online communications’
- Successful ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership Scholarship on ‘Obstetric Interventions: To what extent do consent processes adhere to the law’.

Find out more - our PhD Law  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Dr Moreton’s recent research interests have focused on child and adolescent decision-making in the healthcare context. In 2020 she published a major paper in the Medical Law Review on using the Ethics of Care in Paediatric Palliative and End-of-Life Decision Making. More recently her focus has turned to children with gender dysphoria and the legal response to the administration of puberty blockers, with invited commentaries for the Medical Law Review. Her current research has 3 strands: 1. Work on ethical and legal perspectives of care for children with medical complexity; 2. Exploration of decision-making for 16-17 year olds in both the health and social care setting; 3. A project on the theory and practice of advance care planning for adolescents receiving palliative care.


Recent publications


Moreton, K 2023, 'The appeal in Bell v Tavistock and beyond: Where are we now with trans children's treatment for gender dysphoria', Medical Law Review. https://doi.org/10.1093/medlaw/fwad025

Moreton, KL 2021, 'A backwards-step for Gillick: trans children’s inability to consent to treatment for gender dysphoria—Quincy Bell & Mrs A v The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and Ors [2020] EWHC 3274 (Admin)', Medical Law Review, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 699–715. https://doi.org/10.1093/medlaw/fwab020

Moreton, KL 2019, 'Reflecting on ‘Hannah’s Choice’: Using the Ethics of Care to Justify Child Participation in End of Life Decision-Making', Medical Law Review. https://doi.org/10.1093/medlaw/fwz011

Moreton, K 2015, 'Gillick Reinstated: Judging Mid-Childhood Competence in Healthcare Law - An NHS Trust v ABC & a Local Authority', Medical Law Review, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 303-314.

Moreton, K 2014, 'Jonathan Herring - Caring and the Law', Medical Law Review, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 452-457.


Moreton, K 2017, Twisted Reasoning: Disentagling Matters of Law, Conjoined Embodiment, Life and Death - Legal Commentary on Re A. in SW Smith (ed.), Ethical Judgments: Re-Writing Medical Law. Hart Publishing, pp. 24-30.

Moreton, K & Fox, M 2015, Re MB and St George's Healthcare NHS Trust v S: The Dilemma of the 'Court-Ordered' Caesarean. in J Herring & J Wall (eds), Landmark Cases in Medical Law. Hart Publishing, pp. 145-174.

Commissioned report

Moreton, K 2023, Literature Review: Disagreements in the Care of Critically Ill Children: Causes, Impact and Possible Resolution Mechanisms. Nuffield Council on Bioethics. <https://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/assets/pdfs/Nuffield-Literature-Review-FINAL-Disagreements-in-the-Care-of-Critically-Ill-Children-Causes-Impact-and-Possible-Resolution-Mechanisms.pdf>

Moreton, K 2021, An Exploration of Local Views of Living and Dying with Dementia.

View all publications in research portal