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Professor Rosamund Scott

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Room: SW3.17



Rosamund Scott is Professor of Medical Law and Ethics. She joined the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics as a Lecturer in 1998, became Reader in Law in 2005, Professor of Medical Law and Ethics in 2007 and Co-Director of the Centre in 2013. She studied Philosophy at the Australian National University, Canberra, and Law at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. After qualifying as a barrister she undertook a PhD in an area of reproductive law and ethics at King’s College London. She received a number of scholarships and awards during these studies. 

Research Interests

Rosamund Scott’s research interests largely concern or relate to the field of reproductive ethics and law. She is interested in ethics and law in their own right, coupled with the relationship between them. Her work spans the theoretical and the context sensitive, including the empirical. Where appropriate, it aims to be relevant to policy and clinical practice. She has published books and articles on a wide range of ethical and legal issues in the area of reproduction, including ‘maternal-fetal conflict’, abortion, prenatal screening and diagnosis, selective abortion, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, ‘wrongful birth’, ‘wrongful life’, stem-cell research and the donation of so-called ‘spare’ embryos to stem-cell and other research, and a range of topics in reproductive donation. 

She published her first monograph – Rights, Duties and the Body: Law and Ethics of the Maternal-Fetal Conflict, in 2002 (shortlisted and a runner-up for the Society of Legal Scholars Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship, 2002). Her second – Choosing between Possible Lives: Law and Ethics of Prenatal and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis was published in 2007 (aided by Research Leave funded by the AHRC). A co-edited collection, Regulating Reproductive Donation (S. Golombok, R. Scott, J. Appleby, M. Richards and S. Wilkinson), aided by funding from the Wellcome Trust, was published in 2016. 

She has been very fortunate to have extensive involvement in interdisciplinary research projects with others, funded by the Wellcome Trust. This collaborative work has included a wide range of engagement with relevant stakeholders and resulted in an extensive range of inter-disciplinary publications with colleagues. Her own research has been supported with periods of Research Leave by the AHRC and the Wellcome Trust. 

Currently she holds a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award in Ethics and Society (£950,000, 2013-18), jointly with Professor Stephen Wilkinson (University of Lancaster).  This programme of research is entitled ‘The Donation and Transfer of Human Reproductive Materials’:


Policy Advice, Engagement and Other Professional Roles

Her work in the area of policy advice and engagement currently includes membership of the MRC Steering Committee for the UK Stem Cell Bank. Previously, she was a member of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics Working Party on ‘Donor Conception: Ethical Aspects of Information Disclosure’, which reported in 2013. She has also been a member of the Ethics Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and a Trustee of the Institute of Medical Ethics. Her work for funding bodies includes current membership of the Wellcome Trust Ethics and Society Expert Review Group (and formerly its Biomedical Ethics Interview Committee). She is on the Editorial Advisory Board of Clinical Ethics and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Medical Ethics. She is also a barrister. 

Research Grants and Selected Publications

Senior Investigator Award, (jointly with Professor Stephen Wilkinson, Lancaster University), ‘The Donation and Transfer of Human Reproductive Materials’, Ethics and Society, Wellcome Trust, (£950,000) 2013-18

Research Leave, ‘Reproductive Autonomy, Rights, the Embryo and the Fetus: Legal and Ethical Issues’, Wellcome Trust Research Grant in Biomedical Ethics, (£6,200) January-June, 2012

Co-applicant, ‘The London and Brighton Translational Ethics Centre (LABTEC)’, Wellcome Trust Research Grant in Biomedical Ethics, (PI, C. Williams, £835,000) 2009-14

Collaborator, ‘Ethical Frameworks for Embryo Donation: Views, Values and Practices of IVF/PGD Staff’, Wellcome Trust Research Grant in Biomedical Ethics, (PI, C. Williams, £199,000) August 2007-June 2010

Research Leave, Arts and Humanities Research Council, (£27,000) January- June, 2007

Co-applicant, ‘Facilitating Choice, Framing Choice: the Experiences of Staff Working in Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis’, Wellcome Trust Research Grant in Biomedical Ethics, (PI, C. Williams, £140,000) 2005-2007 


Scott, R., Choosing Possible Lives: Law and Ethics of Prenatal and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2007) 

Scott, R., Rights, Duties and the Body: Law and Ethics of the Maternal-Fetal Conflict (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2002) 

Edited Collections

Golombok, S., Scott, R., Appleby, J., Richards, M., and Wilkinson S., (eds), Regulating Reproductive Donation (Cambridge: CUP, 2016) 

Journal Special Issues

Appleby, J., Scott, R., and Wilkinson, S., ‘The Ethics of Mitochondrial Replacement’, Bioethics (forthcoming, 2016)

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Scott, R., ‘Risks, Reasons and Rights: The European Convention on Human Rights and English Abortion Law’, (2016) 24 Medical Law Review 1-33 

Available at

Scott, R., ‘Reconsidering “Wrongful Life” in England after Thirty Years: Legislative Mistakes and Unjustifiable Anomalies’, (2013) 72 Cambridge Law Journal 115-154

Scott, R., Williams, C., Ehrich, K. and Farsides, B., ‘Donation of “Spare” Fresh or Frozen Embryos to Research: Who Decides that an Embryo is “Spare” and How Can We Enhance the Quality and Protect the Validity of Consent?’ (2012) 20 Medical Law Review 255-303 

Available at:

Ehrich K., Williams C., Farsides B. and Scott, R., “Embryo Futures and Stem Cell Research: the Management of Informed Uncertainty” (2012) 34 Sociology of Health & Illness 114-129

Farsides, B. and Scott, R., ‘No Small Matter for Some: Practitioners’ Views on the Moral Status and Treatment of Human Embryos’, (2012) 20 Medical Law Review 90-107

Ehrich K., Williams C., Farsides B. and Scott, R.., ‘Constructing an Ethical Framework for Embryo Donation to Research: is it Time for a Restricted Consent Policy?’, (2011) 14 Human Fertility 115-121

Scott, R, ‘Why Parents Have No Duty to Select “the Best” Children’, (2007) 2 Clinical Ethics 149-154

Ehrich, K., Farsides, B., Williams, C. and Scott, R., ‘Testing the Embryo, Testing the Fetus’, (2007) 2 Clinical Ethics 181-186

Williams, C., Ehrich, K., Farsides, B. and Scott, R., ‘Facilitating Choice, Framing Choice: Staff Views on Widening the Scope of PGD’, (2007) 65 Social Science and Medicine 1094-1105

Scott, R., Williams, C., Ehrich, K. and Farsides, B., ‘The Appropriate Extent of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: Health Professionals’ Views on the Requirement for a “Significant Risk of a Serious Genetic Condition”’, (2007) 15 Medical Law Review 320-56

Ehrich, K., Williams, C., Farsides, B., Sandall, J. and Scott, R., ‘Choosing Embryos:  Ethical Complexity and Relational Autonomy in Staff Accounts of PGD’, (2007) 29 Sociology of Health & Illness 1091-1106

Ehrich, K., Williams, C., Scott, R., Sandall, J., and Farsides, B., ‘Social Welfare, Genetic Welfare? Boundary Work in the IVF/PGD Clinic’, (2006) 63 Social Science and Medicine 1213-1224

Scott, R., ‘Choosing between Possible Lives: Legal and Ethical Issues in Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis’, (2006) 26 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 153-178

Scott, R., ‘The Uncertain Scope of Reproductive Autonomy in Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Selective Abortion’, (2005) 3 Medical Law Review 291-327

Scott, R., ‘Interpreting the Disability Ground of the Abortion Act”, (2005) 64 Cambridge Law Journal 388-412

Scott, R., ‘Prenatal Testing, Reproductive Autonomy and Disability Interests’, (2005) 14 Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 65-82

Scott, R., ‘The English Fetus and the Right to Life’, (2004) 11 European Journal of Health Law 347-364

Scott, R., ‘Prenatal Screening, Autonomy and Reasons: the Relationship between the Law of Abortion and Wrongful Birth’, (2003) 11 Medical Law Review 265-325

Scott, R., ‘Autonomy and Connectedness: a Reinterpretation of Georgetown and its Progeny’, (2000) 28 The Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 55-63 

Scott, R., ‘Maternal Duties toward the Unborn? Soundings from the Law of Tort’, (2000) 8 Medical Law Review 1-68 

Scott, R., ‘The Pregnant Woman and the Good Samaritan: Can a Woman have a Duty to Undergo a Caesarean-Section?’ (2000) 20 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 407-436 

Chapters in Edited Collections

Scott, R., ‘Egg-sharing, Motivation and Consent: Ethical, Legal and Policy Issues’, in S. Golombok, R. Scott, J. Appleby, M. Richards and S. Wilkinson (eds), Regulating Reproductive Donation (Cambridge: CUP, 2016) 259-292

Scott, R., ‘Donor Conception and Information Disclosure: Welfare or Consent?’, in S. Devaney, A. Farrell, A. Mullock and C. Stanton (eds), Pioneering Healthcare Law: Essays in Honour of Margaret Brazier (London: Routledge, 2015) 231-242

Scott, R., ‘Refusing Medical Treatment in Pregnancy: Ethical and Legal Issues’, in F. Ebtehaj, J. Herring, M. Johnson and M. Richards (eds), Birth Rites and Rights (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2011) 113-128

Scott, R., ‘Selective Abortion and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: Some Ethical Issues in the Interpretation of the Legal Criteria’ in S. Kehoe, L. Chitty and T. Homfray (eds), Reproductive Genetics, (London: RCOG, 2009) 183-192

Scott, R., ‘Maternal-Fetal Conflict’, in R. Ashcroft, A. Dawson, H. Draper and J. McMillan (eds), Principles of Healthcare Ethics (Chichester: John Wiley, 2007) 401-407

Grubb, A., Bates, P., Lewis, P. and Scott, R., ‘The Law Relating to Consent’, in S. Eckstein (ed.), Manual for Research Ethics Committees (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) 89-95

Subjects Taught

Postgraduate: Medical Law 1, Law and Reproduction, Topics in Medical Ethics (Reproductive Ethics)

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