Professor Muireann Quigley

Professor Muireann Quigley

Birmingham Law School
Professor of Law, Medicine, and Technology

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Quigley has an interdisciplinary background which crosses medicine, ethics, and law. This is reflected in her research which focuses on the philosophical analysis of law and policy in medicine and the biosciences. Her research in the last 5 years has focused on three main areas: (1) bodies and biomaterials, (2) bodies and (bio)technologies, and (3) the use of the behavioural sciences in law and policy. She has received funding from a number of bodies for her work including the Leverhulme and Wellcome Trusts.

Her current research focuses on the legal and philosophical challenges arising from the joining of persons and bodies with attached and implanted medical devices. These will be investigated as part of a 5 year Wellcome Trust Investigator Award which started in September 2019.

Professor Quigley is author of a recent major monograph examining how the law ought to deal with novel challenges regarding the use and control of human biomaterials. Self-ownership, Property Rights, & the Human Body: A Legal and Philosophical Analysis was originally published by Cambridge University Press in 2018. Drawing together often disparate strands of property discourse, it offers an original interdisciplinary defence of the position that persons ought to be seen as the prima facie holders of property rights in their separated biomaterials.


  • BSc (Medical Science) (St Andrews)
  • BSc (Hons) (Manchester)
  • MB ChB (Manchester)
  • MA (Manchester)
  • PhD (Manchester)


Professor Quigley joined Birmingham Law School in January 2018 as Professor of Law, Medicine, and Technology. From August 2015 she held the Chair in Law, Innovation, and Society the University of Newcastle. Prior to that was Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Ethics and Law at the Centre for Ethics in Medicine at the University of Bristol, and has worked at the University of Manchester's Centre for Social Ethics and Policy in the School of Law where she held positions as Lecturer in Bioethics and Research Fellow in Bioethics and Law. In a previous life she was a medical doctor, working in General Medicine and A&E, and also as a Screening Physician for a phase I clinical trials company.

Postgraduate supervision

Biolaw, property in the body and biomaterials, the use if the behavioural sciences in law and policy, (bio)technologies and law.

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


Professor Quigley’s recent research has focused on three main areas: (1) bodies and biomaterials, (2) bodies and (bio)technologies, and (3) the use of the behavioural sciences in law and policy. All three areas are underpinned by an interest in the foundations of and boundaries in law. Amongst others, her work has been funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Leverhulme Trust.

Her recent monograph Self-ownership, Property Rights, & the Human Body: A Legal and Philosophical Analysis was published in hardback in 2018 and paperback in 2020 by Cambridge University Press. In it she examines how the law ought to deal with novel challenges regarding the use and control of human biomaterials, arguing that innovation within the law is needed if we are to adequately deal with and regulate the uses of these. She concludes that the law must confront and move boundaries which it has constructed; in particular, those which delineate property from non-property in relation to biomaterials.

The book was one of the 2018 Choice Outstanding Academic Title winners.

Work on the monograph led to a development of Prof Quigley’s longstanding interest in bodies and (bio)technologies. She is interested in the challenges arising as (bio)technological objects move out of and into the body. Those objects moving in (e.g. relevant medical devices) present challenges to the philosophical foundations of law as it currently stands (e.g. challenging binary classifications such as subject-object upon which the law is built).

This interest underpins her current research which focused on the legal and ethical challenges regarding persons with attached and implanted medical devices. She is PI on a large Wellcome Trust-funded project: Everyday Cyborgs 2.0: Law’s Boundary-work and Alternative Legal Futures. This project explores the legal and philosophical challenges which arise when attached and implanted medical devices, especially smart devices, are joined with persons.  

Along with the project researchers, she is tackling questions such as: (1) should internal medical devices which keep the person alive be viewed as part of the person or mere objects (or something else)?; (2) is damage to neuro-prostheses personal injury or damage to property?; (3) who ought to control/own the software in implanted medical devices?; and (4) how should the law deal with risks around unauthorised third party access and hacking?

Professor Quigley’s third main area of research centres on the use of the behavioural sciences in law and policy. Behavioural-inspired public policy is often framed by proponents and policy-makers as desirable strategies for achieving a range of aims. It is also frequently presented (at least by policy-makers and Government) as being a pioneering alternative to the law and traditional regulatory structures. Her work examines the problematic empirical, philosophical, and political foundations of the translation and application of the behavioural sciences into law and policy.

Other activities


  • Journal of Medical Ethics, Editorial Board Member (2018- )
  • Medical Law International, Editorial Board Member (2017- )


  • Journal of Medical Ethics, Associate Editor (2013-2016)
  • UK Donation Ethics Committee, Member (2012-2016)
  • University of Bristol, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Research Ethics Committee, Chair and Faculty Research Ethics Officer (2014-2015)
  • Medical Research Council Reference Group, Member (2013-2014)
  • North West e-Health Research Governance Committee, Vice-chair (2009 - 2013).


Highlight publications

Roberts, J, Moore, V & Quigley, M 2021, 'Prescribing unapproved medical devices? The case of DIY artificial pancreas systems', Medical law international, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 42-68.

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.

Quigley, M, McHale, J, Dickson, R & Downey, L 2020, Medicines and Medical Devices Bill 2019-20 Briefing Note. University of Birmingham. <>

Quigley, M 2018, Self-ownership, property rights, and the human body: a legal and philosophical analysis. Cambridge Bioethics and Law, Cambridge University Press.

Quigley, M & Ayihongbe, S 2018, 'Everyday cyborgs: on integrated persons and integrated goods', Medical Law Review, vol. 26, no. 2, Spring 2018, pp. 276–308.

Recent publications


Quigley, M & MacKay, K 2018, 'Exacerbating inequalities? health policy and the behavioural sciences', Health Care Analysis, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 380-397.

Lepenies, R, MacKay, K & Quigley, M 2018, 'Three challenges for behavioural science and policy: the empirical, the normative and the political', Behavioural Public Policy, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 174-182.

Jones, S & Quigley, M 2016, 'Preventing lawful and decent burial: resurrecting dead offences', Legal Studies, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 354-74.

Quigley, M 2014, 'Are Health Nudges Coercive?', Monash Bioethics Review, vol. 32, no. 1-2, pp. 141-158.

Willis, BH & Quigley, M 2014, 'Opt-out organ donation: on evidence and public policy', Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 56-60.


Roberts, J & Quigley, M 2022, Being novel? Regulating emerging technologies under conditions of uncertainty. in D Lawrence & S Morley (eds), Novel Beings: Regulatory Approaches for a Future of New Intelligent Life. Elgar Law, Technology and Society series, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., pp. 139-169.

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.

Quigley, M & Farrell, A-M 2019, The politics of nudge and framing behaviour change in health. in H Straßheim & S Beck (eds), Handbook of behavioural change and public policy. Handbooks of Research on Public Policy series, Edward Elgar. <>

Quigley, M 2018, Libertarian paternalism and nudging: on alluring concepts and public policy. in K Grill & J Hanna (eds), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Paternalism. 1 edn, Routledge Handbooks in Applied Ethics, Routledge, pp. 223-235.

Quigley, M 2016, Organ Donation and Transplantation. in P Davey, A Rathmell, M Dunn, C Foster & H Salisbury (eds), Medical Ethics, Law and Communication at a Glance. Wiley-Blackwell.

Quigley, M & Skene, L 2015, Human Biomaterials and Property: Is the Law Still an Ass? in Pioneering Healthcare Law: Essays in Honour of Margaret Brazier . Biomedical Law and Ethics Library, Routledge, pp. 156-157.

Quigley, M & Stokes, E 2015, Nudging and Evidence-based Policy in Europe: Problems of Normative Legitimacy and Effectiveness. in A Alemanno & A-L Sibony (eds), Nudge and the Law: A European Perspective. Hart Publishing.

Goold, I & Quigley, M 2014, Human Biomaterials: The Case for a Property Approach. in Persons, Parts and Property: How Should we Regulate Human Tissue in the 21st Century? . Hart Publishing, pp. 231-262.


Quigley, M 2016, 'Health law and policy: The scope and bounds of liberty?', Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 42, no. 8, pp. 481.

Quigley, M 2015, 'Evidence & ethics: once more into the fray', Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 41, no. 10, pp. 793-794.

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