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Research Projects and Activities

Funded Projects

1. Ethics, Law and Pregnancy in Ireland Network (ELPIN) 

This Wellcome Trust funded project facilitates the development of critical competencies among researchers around ethical and legal issues in pregnancy and childbirth in the new medical/legal/social/ethical environment following the repeal of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution in May 2018.

Project PI: Dr Claire Murray

Collaborators: Professor Mary Donnelly; Dr Mary Tumelty    

Visit our website: and follow us on Twitter @ELPIN_UCC

2. Criminal Responsibility for Medical Error – A Helpful or Harmful Mechanism for Delivering Patient Safety?

This project, funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations ‘Knowledge for Impact’ Scheme, involves an interdisciplinary workshop to consider the matter of criminal responsibility for medical error.

Project PI: Dr Mary Tumelty

3. Reclaiming Conscience: Developing Ethical Frameworks for Reproductive Healthcare in Ireland

This project funded by the College of Business and Law Research Awards sought to investigate the new ethical and legal climate created by the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

An interdisciplinary conference was held at UCC in June 2019 with speakers including Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran; Professor Rebecca Cook (UoT); Professor Bernard Dickens (UoT);  Dr Sheelagh McGuinness (University of Bristol);  Dr Joan McCarthy (UCC); Dr Keelin O'Donoghue (UCC);  Dr Nóirín Russell (UCC); Dr Barry Lyons (TCD); Maeve Taylor (IFPA);  Dr Trish Horgan (Start Doctors).

Project PIs: Professor Mary Donnelly and Dr Claire Murray

4. Gendering Mental Health and Capacity Law

This project funded by the College of Business and Law Research Fund will lead to the publication of a Special Issue of the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry entitled Gendering Mental Health and Capacity Law, co-edited by Professor Mary Donnelly and Dr Claire Murray.  The articles for the Special Issue were presented at a workshop held at UCC in March 2019.

Project PIs: Professor Mary Donnelly and Dr Claire Murray

5. Public Health, Ethics and Law Research Network (PHELN)

This ESCR/IRC funded project involved the development of a cross-border, cross-disciplinary Public Health, Ethics and Law Research Network (PHELN) for the UK and Ireland.


Project Joint PIs: Professor Mary Donnelly (UCC) and Professor Anne-Maree Farrell (University of Edinburgh)

UCC Project collaborators: Professor Deirdre Madden; Dr Mary Tumelty


1. Project Coordinators Reclaiming Conscience, June 2019: Professor Mary Donnelly and Dr Claire Murray with Dr Joan McCarthy (School of Nursing, UCC), Professor Rebecca Cook (University of Toronto) and Dr Sheelagh McGuinness (Bristol University).

2. Gendering Mental Health and Capacity Law workshop, March 2019: Dr Louise Campbell (NUIG); Professor Penny Weller (RMIT, Melbourne); Dr Pieter Cannoot (University of Ghent); workshop organisers Dr Claire Murray and Professor Mary Donnelly (UCC); Dr Laura Pritchard Jones (Keele University); Professor Brendan Kelly (Trinity College Dublin); Dr Camillia Kong (Birkberk University).


  • The Annual Mental Health and Capacity Law Conference is jointly hosted by the Centre for Criminal Justice & Human Rights, School of Law, UCC and the Irish Mental Health Lawyers Association.  
  • Professor Mary Donnelly was the co-organiser (together with Professor Rosie Harding, University of Birmingham and Dr Ezgi Taşcıoğlu, Keele University) of an international interdisciplinary workshop entitled ‘Supporting Legal Capacity in Socio-Legal Context’ which was held in the Onati Institute for the Sociology of Law, Spain in July 2019.  Both Professor Donnelly and Dr Claire Murray presented papers at this workshop. The papers from this workshop will be included in a collection to be edited by the workshop organisers and published by Hart Publishing as part of the Onati Socio-Legal Series.
  • Dr Claire Murray was involved in the ‘Without Consent: Vaginal Examinations Without Consent in Labour and Childbirth’ project organised by Professor Jonathan Herring and Dr Camilla Pickles, University of Oxford and presented a paper at a workshop in Exeter College on the 8th February 2019. The papers from this workshop will be published as part of an edited collection by Hart Publishing.
  • Dr Mary Tumelty presented as part of a panel discussion on Open Disclosure at the 15th Annual Health Summit, Croke Park, 7th February 2019.
  • Dr Mary Tumelty presented a paper entitled ‘New Options for Medical Negligence Litigation’ as part of the Recent Developments in Tort Litigation Conference in Trinity College Dublin, July 2019.
  • In June 2019, in furtherance of her interests in medical negligence mediation, Dr Mary Tumelty participated in an advanced mediation workshop at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. The Program on Negotiation serves as an interdisciplinary research centre dedicated to developing the theory and practice of dispute resolution in a range of public and private settings. This prestigious course attracted mediation professionals from diverse backgrounds and industries and was delivered by leading experts in the field of alternative dispute resolution.

Public Service

  • Professor Mary Donnelly is the Chair the Ministerial Working Group on Advance Healthcare Directives; the joint chair of the Health Service Executive National Consent Advisory Group/Assisted Decision Making Steering Group and a member of the Mental Health Commission Legislation Committee
  • Professor Deirdre Madden is Deputy Chair of the Board of the Health Service Executive
  • Dr Darius Whelan is President of the Irish Mental Health Lawyers Association
  • Dr Claire Murray is a member of the National Women’s Council of Ireland Working Group on Abortion

School of Law

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