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Stephen Smith

Dr Stephen Smith


Reader in Law

School of Law and Politics

+44 29206 88714
Law Building, Room 2.37, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Available for postgraduate supervision


I joined the Cardiff School of Law and Politics as a Senior Lecturer in Medical Law and Ethics in September of 2016. I was promoted to Reader in 2021. Prior to arriving in Cardiff, I was a Lecturer at the Birmingham Law School where I taught Jurisprudence, Bioethics and Criminal Law and Medicine. I have a PhD from Manchester which he received in 2003. I also have  a J.D. degree from Washington University School of Law (St. Louis, Missouri) (1998) and a B.A. in Psychology from Mercyhurst College (Erie, Pennsylvania) (1995).

My primary research interests are in bioethics and healthcare law. I am particularly interested in the interaction between bioethics and law, particularly in judicial decision-making. I also have an interest in how bioethics is implemented into policy and how popular culture interacts with bioethics and healthcare law. Much of my work has involved end-of-life decisions.  I am the lead editor of Ethical Judgments: Re-Writing Medical Law which was published by Hart-Bloomsbury in 2017. I am also the author of a book by Cambridge University Press (2012) entitled End-of-Life Decisions in Medical Care: Principles and Policies for Regulating the Dying Process. I am currently working on a book about conscience and healthcare decisions.

I have supervised numerous undergraduate and Master's projects at Birmingham as well as supervising two PhD students in law to completion (Dr Mandeep Dyal, 2014 and Dr Clark Hobson, 2015). I am willing to supervise PhD projects within my areas of specialisation which include bioethics, medical/healthcare law and jurisprudence.














Adrannau llyfrau




My primary areas of expertise are healthcare law and ethics. Specifically, my work focuses on the interaction between healthcare law and bioethics. This has included a monograph on end-of-life decision making published by Cambridge University Press in 2012. Additionally, I was the lead editor of the Ethical Judgments Project which led to the edited collection Ethical Judgments: Re-Writing Medical Law published by Hart-Bloomsbury in 2017.

My current research focuses on issues of conscience and its role in healthcare decision-making. I have published a series of articles on this topic in the Medical Law Review, Health Care Analysis, and the Cambridge Law Journal. I am currently working on a monograph on this topic for Cambridge University Press.


I am currently the module leader and teach on the Undergraduate Healthcare, Ethics, and Law (HEAL) module.

I am also the programme director of the Legal Aspects of Medical Practice (LAMP) LLM programme. I am the module leader and teach on two of the programme's modules (Introduction to Medical Law and Ethics and Ethical Judgments in Healthcare Law). I also teach on the remaining two modules of the programme (Legal and Professional Regulation of Medical Practice and Capacity and Consent to Treatment)


Education and Qualifications

  • 2003: PhD (Law), University oif Manchester, UK
  • 1998: J.D., Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  • 1995: B.A. (Psychology), Mercyhurst College, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA

Career Overview

  • 2021 - present: Reader in Medical Law and Ethics, Cardiff School of Law and Politics
  • 2016 - 2021: Senior Lecturer in Medical Law and Ethics, Cardiff School of Law and Politics
  • 2003 - 2016: Lecturer in Law, Birmingham Law School, Birmingham, UK


I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Medical/healthcare law and ethics
  • the intersection and interaction of healthcare law and bioethics
  • judicial decision-making and bioethics
  • jurisprudence

Current supervision

Dani O'Connor

Dani O'Connor

Research student


  • Bioethics
  • Law and humanities
  • Legal theory, jurisprudence and legal interpretation
  • Medical and health law
  • Medical ethics