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Professor Philip Fennell

Emeritus Professor

School of Law and Politics

Law Building, Room 3.15, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Media commentator


Phil Fennell is a Professor of Law in Cardiff Law School, Cardiff University, where he teaches Medical Law, Public Law and Legal Foundations. He has published many articles and books on  law and psychiatry, including Treatment Without Consent: Law, Psychiatry and the Treatment of Mental Disorder since 1845, (Routledge 1996), (with Larry Gostin, Peter Bartlett, Jean McHale and Ronnie Mackay) Principles of Mental health Law and Policy (Oxford University Press 2010),  Mental Health Law and Practice (2nd Edition Jordans 2011), (with Penny Letts and Jonathan Wilson Mental health Tribunals (The Law Society 2013) . Phil has worked as specialist legal adviser to the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Committee on the Mental Health Bill 2004, to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, as well as to the Welsh Affairs Committee on the Draft Mental Health Legislative Competence Order 2008.

Phil is a regular speaker at conferences on mental health law and policy, and is frequently asked to give advice on policy issues to official bodies in Great Britain and Ireland. In 2009 Phil gave training lectures on the Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards to judges of the High Court the Court of Appeal and the Court of Protection, and in January 2013 addressed a seminar of the judges of the Family Division and the Court of Protection at Highgate House on the Deprivation of Liberty Procedures under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.  He has provided expert legal comment on topical issues of medical and mental health law for both BBC and ITV news and current affairs programmes. He acted as specialist legal adviser to the Welsh grand Committee of the Westminster Parliament on the Legislativeoo Competence order which led to the Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010. In 2009 Phil gave evidence to the Senedd Health and Social Services Committee on the measure.


Principal researcher on Nuffield  Foundation funded research project on health and welfare decisions in the Court of Protection.

Currently researching health and welfare decisions in the Court of Protection with post-doctoral research associate Dr Lucy Series.


Philip lectures in Public Law and Legal Foundations on Part One of the LLB programme. He is course convenor of the LLM in Legal Aspects of Medical Practice. He is module leader of the LLM modules 'Consent to Treatment' and 'Law and Psychiatry.'


Philip Fennell was a member of the Law Society's Mental Health and Disability Committee from 1985-2011and was a member of the Mental Health Act Commission from 1983-1989. In 2000 Philip lectured to the judiciary as part of the judicial training for the implementation of the Human Rights Act 1998.  From November 2004 to March 2005 he served as specialist legal adviser to the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny  Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill 2004. In November 2006 he was appojnted  specialist legal adviser to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights for the Committee's scrutiny of the Mental Health Bill 2006. He regularly gives lectures to professional bodies on mental health law.