Penney Lewis joined the Dickson Poon School of Law and Centre of Medical Law and Ethics at King's in 1995. She became Reader in Law in 2005, and Professor of Law in 2007. She received an SB in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a JD from the University of Toronto. Following a judicial clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada, she gained an MA in Medical Ethics and Law from King’s College London and an LLM from Columbia University. She is also qualified as a Barrister and Solicitor in Ontario, Canada.
From 2020, Professor Lewis is on secondment to the Law Commission as the Law Commissioner for Criminal Law.
Professor Lewis is a (Board) Member of the Human Tissue Authority, and a member of: the Genomics England Ethics Committee; the Health Research Authority National Research and Ethics Advisors’ Panel; the St. Christopher’s Hospice Clinical Ethics Committee; and the Working Group on Deceased Donation of the European Platform on Ethical, Legal and Psychosocial Aspects of Organ Transplantation (ELPAT). Formerly, she was a member of the UK Donation Ethics Committee, and Vice-Chair of the King’s College London Research Ethics Committee.
Professor Lewis's research covers two separate subject areas. In the area of criminal evidence and procedure, she has written extensively on prosecutions for childhood sexual abuse which take place many years after the alleged events, and in 2006 published a monograph on this topic entitled Delayed Prosecution for Childhood Sexual Abuse, which is part of the Oxford University Press series Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice. In the medical law area, her research focuses on the intersection between criminal and medical law including law at the end of life. She is the author of a number of articles on assisted dying (euthanasia and assisted suicide) and her monograph entitled Assisted Dying and Legal Change was published in 2007 by Oxford University Press. Another strand of her research explores the relationship between the criminal law and medical practice by focusing on non-therapeutic and controversial medical procedures. She has also published articles and chapters dealing with a wide range of medical law topics, including wrongful life, advance decision-making, refusal of treatment, medical treatment of children and medical procedures which are against the interests of incompetent adults, such as non-therapeutic research.
Professor Lewis was nominated by her students for a College Teaching Excellence Award seven times between 2003 and 2018. She received this award twice.
Professor Lewis was awarded ‘Half Laurels’ by the Students’ Union in 2008 in ‘recognition of contribution to the College community to an extraordinary level’.
In 2012, the King's Students' Union awarded Professor Lewis a President's Wreath ‘in recognition of an extraordinary contribution to the King’s College London community and for improving the student experience’. She was nominated for this award by the students on the MA in Medical Ethics and Law who wrote that: ‘Penney was an outstanding course director for the Medical Ethics and Law MA course. She is incredibly passionate and enthusiastic about her subject and has been a constant guide for the students on the course. She is very organised, and extremely approachable. Her efforts this year have been outstanding; a great reflection of King’s and its community, and she has certainly been most committed to improving the student experience.’
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