Professor Sara Fovargue
School of Law
Professor of Law
Director of Academic Staff Development
Deputy Chair of the University Research Ethics Committee
+44 114 222 6794
Full contact details
School of Law
I joined the School of Law at the University of Sheffield in January 2022, having previously been Professor of Law at Lancaster University. I have also taught at the Universities of Manchester and Newcastle.
I was the first in my family to attend university. Having wanted to be a barrister (specialising in medical malpractice) since I was about 14, I realised while I was studying at the Inns of Court School of Law that a career at the Bar was not for me. I completed the academic stage to qualify as a barrister and then opted to start work on my PhD rather than to complete a pupillage.
I have been teaching and researching issues relating to health law and ethics, and family law (particularly relating to children) for over 20 years and I am passionate about these subjects. I have also taught Criminal Law, English Legal Systems/Legal Methods, and Gender and the Law.
- Non-practising barrister
- PhD, University of Manchester
- LLB(Hons) Law, University of Leicester
- Research interests
Health care law and ethics generally - specifically:
- Consent and Capacity
- Decision Making for the 'Vulnerable'
- Risk and Regulation
- Clinical Research Involving Human and Non-human Animals
- Developing and Emerging Biotechnologies (such as xenotransplantation)
- Reproduction and Reproductive Technologies
- Organ Donation and Transplantation
- Conscientious Objection
- Parents, Parenthood and Reproductive Technologies
- Children and Health
- Children and Childhood
- Xenotransplantation and Risk. Cambridge University Press.
- Editorial. Medical Law Review, 30(4), 581-583.
- Relationships, rights and responsibilities: (re)viewing the NHS constitution for the post-vaccination ‘new normal'. Medical Law Review. View this article in WRRO
- UK pharmacists' experiences and perceptions of conflict between personal ethical commitments and professional obligations, as set out in professional guidance. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice. View this article in WRRO
- In whose best interests? Childbirth choices and other health decisions. Law Quarterly Review, 137, 604-629.
- Editorial. Medical Law Review, 29(1), 1-2. View this article in WRRO
- Neither ‘crisis light’ nor ‘business as usual’: considering the distinctive ethical issues raised by the contingency and reset phases of a pandemic. American Journal of Bioethics, 21(8), 34-37. View this article in WRRO
- Which ethical values underpin England's National Health Service reset of paediatric and maternity services following COVID-19: a rapid review. BMJ Open, 11(6). View this article in WRRO
- COVID-19 and beyond: the ethical challenges of resetting health services during and after public health emergencies. Journal of Medical Ethics, 46(11), 715-716. View this article in WRRO
- Anticipating issues with capacitous pregnant women: United Lincolnshire NHS Hospitals Trust v CD  EWCOP 24 and Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLAM) v R  EWCOP 4. Medical Law Review, 28(4), 781-793. View this article in WRRO
- Guest editorial. New Bioethics, 25(3), 203-206. View this article in WRRO
- Is conscientious objection incompatible with healthcare professionalism?. New Bioethics, 25(3), 221-235. View this article in WRRO
- Mine, yours, ours? Autonomy and the removal and use of organs and tissues before the European Court in Petrova v. Latvia and Elberte v. Latvia. Journal of Trafficking and Human Exploitation, 1(2), 143-160. View this article in WRRO
- Conscience and agent-integrity : a defence of conscience-based exemptions in the health care context. Medical Law Review, 24(4), 544-570. View this article in WRRO
- What role should public opinion play in ethico-legal decision making? The example of selecting sex for non-medical reasons using preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Medical Law Review, 24(1), 34-58. View this article in WRRO
- 'IN GOOD CONSCIENCE': CONSCIENCE-BASED EXEMPTIONS AND PROPER MEDICAL TREATMENT. Medical Law Review, 23(2), 221-241. View this article in WRRO
- CONSCIENCE AND PROPER MEDICAL TREATMENT. Medical Law Review, 23(2), 173-176. View this article in WRRO
- Does the theoretical framework change the legal end result for mature minors refusing medical treatment or creating self-generated pornography?. Medical Law International, 13(1), 6-31. View this article in WRRO
- Doctrinal incoherence or practical problem? Minor parents consenting to their offspring's medical treatment and involvement in research in England and Wales. Child and Family Law Quarterly, 25(1), 1-18.
- The (Ab)use of Those with No Other Hope?. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 22(2), 181-191. View this article in WRRO
- N. Vermeulen, S. Tamminen and A. Webster (eds.), Bio-Objects: Life in the 21st Century (Ashgate: Surrey, 2012), ISBN 9781409411789 (hardback), £55, 240 pp.. European Journal of Health Law, 20(2), 231-239.
- A TRIBUTE TO PROFESSOR DAVID PRICE, 1954-2012. Medical Law Review, 20(2), 189-190.
- Editorial. Medical Law Review, 20(1), 6-7.
- Key changes in the regulation of assisted reproduction introduced by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. Clinical Ethics, 6(4), 162-166.
- The European Union Directive on Organ Donation and Transplantation. Clinical Ethics, 6(3), 117-121.
- Treating those who are mentally disordered under the Mental Health Act 1983: Part 2. Clinical Ethics, 6(2), 64-67.
- Assessing and detaining those who are mentally disordered under the Mental Health Act 1983 and Mental Capacity Act 2005: Part 1. Clinical Ethics, 6(1), 11-14.
- The best interests principle and providing treatment for adults without capacity in England and Wales. Clinical Ethics, 5(4), 180-183.
- The legal status of the fetus. Clinical Ethics, 5(3), 122-124.
- WHEN SHOULD PRECAUTION PREVAIL? INTERESTS IN (PUBLIC) HEALTH, THE RISK OF HARM AND XENOTRANSPLANTATION. Medical Law Review, 18(3), 302-329. View this article in WRRO
- One step forward, two steps back? The GMC, the common law and 'informed' consent. Journal of Medical Ethics, 36(8), 494-497. View this article in WRRO
- Research and adults without capacity. Clinical Ethics, 5(2), 63-66.
- Shifting the focus. Clinical Ethics, 5(1), 1-2.
- How much information is ‘enough’?. Clinical Ethics, 5(1), 13-15.
- A plea for precaution with public health: the xenotransplantation example. Clinical Ethics, 4(3), 119-124.
- Clinical Ethics Committee case 5: Should we discharge our vulnerable patient to a family who seem unable to look after her?. Clinical Ethics, 4(1), 6-11.
- Why Donor Insemination Requires Developments in Family Law—The Need for New Definitions of Parenthood. Medical Law Review, 16(3), 458-464.
- Editorial. Clinical Ethics, 2(1), 22-22.
- Autonomy, decision-making, and role of the law in protecting the 'vulnerable'. Clinical Ethics, 2(2), 55-55.
- Editorial. Clinical Ethics, 1(2), 85-85.
- Editorial. Clinical Ethics, 1(3), 138-138.
- A brief guide to the Human Tissue Act 2004. Clinical Ethics, 1(1), 26-32.
- Editorial. Clinical Ethics, 1(1), 21-21.
- Consenting to bio-risk: xenotransplantation and the law. Legal Studies, 25(3), 404-430. View this article in WRRO
- Review: Rights, Duties and the Body: Law and Ethics of the Maternal-Fetal Conflict. Medical Law Review, 13(1), 131-135.
- A Leap of Faith? Sanctioning Xenotransplant Clinical Trials. Liverpool Law Review, 26(2), 125-147. View this article in WRRO
- Warning: health ‘choices’ can kill. The Journal of Adult Protection, 5(1), 30-34.
- . Res Publica, 7(2), 183-187.
- Reeves v. Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  2 all ER 381. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 20(4), 421-437.
- Policing pregnancy: implications of the attorney-general's reference (no. 3 of 1994). Medical Law Review, 6(3), 265-296. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Medical law. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 20(4), 427-437.
- An update on the ethical, legal, and technical challenges of translating xenotransplantation. Journal of Medical Ethics.
- Implementation of child-centred outcome measures in routine paediatric healthcare practice: a systematic review. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 21(1).
- The Law’s Response to Pregnancy and Childbirth: Consistency, Conflict or Compromise?. The Modern Law Review, 65(2), 290-303.
- 'OH PICK ME, PICK ME'--SELECTING PARTICIPANTS FOR XENOTRANSPLANT CLINICAL TRIALS. Medical Law Review, 15(2), 176-219. View this article in WRRO
- Xenotransplantation--Law and Ethics. Medical Law Review, 14(3), 434-442.
- Introduction In Fovargue S & Purshouse C (Ed.), Leading Works in Health Law and Ethics (pp. 1-8). London: Routledge.
- Introduction, Leading Works in Health Law and Ethics (pp. 1-8).
- View this article in WRRO Preserving the therapeutic alliance: Court intervention and experimental treatment requests In Goold I, Herring J & Auckland C (Ed.), Parental Rights, Best Interests and Significant Harms: Medical Decision-Making on Behalf of Children Post-Great Ormond Street Hospital v Gard (pp. 153-176). Oxford: Hart.
- Xenotransplantation In den Exter A (Ed.), European Health Law (pp. 419-441). Maklu-Uitgevers
- Ethical Judgment on St George's Healthcare NHS Trust v S  3 All ER 673 In Smith S, Coggon J, Hobson C, Huxtable R, McGuinness S, Miola J & Neal M (Ed.), Ethical Judgments: Re-writing Medical Law (pp. 235-240). Oxford: Hart.
- Judgment 2-St George's Healthcare NHS Trust v S  Fam 26, ETHICAL JUDGMENTS: RE-WRITING MEDICAL LAW (pp. 235-240).
- Introduction, The Legitimacy of Medical Treatment: What Role for the Medical Exception? (pp. 1-11).
- Are we still ‘policing pregnancy’?, Pioneering Healthcare Law: Essays in Honour of Margaret Brazier (pp. 243-254). View this article in WRRO
- Transforming wrong into right : What is 'proper medical treatment'? (pp. 12-31).
- Introduction In Fovargue S & Mullock A (Ed.), The Legitimacy of Medical Treatment: What Role for the Medical Exception? (pp. 1-11). Routledge
- Exposing the limits of the law? Biotechnological challenges to global health In Freeman M, Sarah H & Belinda Bennett (Ed.), Law and Global Health (pp. 394-418). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Bioethical conflict and developing biotechnologies: is protecting individual and public health from the risks of xenotransplantation a matter for the (criminal) law?, Bioethics, Medicine and the Criminal Law (pp. 140-156). Cambridge University Press
- La investigación embrionaria humana en Reino Unido: ¿una isla en Europa? In Garcia San Jose D (Ed.), Marco Jurídico Eurpeo Relativo a la Investigación Biomédica en Transferencia Nuclear y Reprogramación Celular (pp. 157-176). Thomson Reuters
- Integrating feminisms' perspectives into the legal curriculum, Leading Works in Health Law and Ethics (pp. 148-163). Taylor & Francis
- Integrating feminisms’ perspectives into the legal curriculum: Feminist Perspectives on Health Care Law In Fovargue S & Purshouse C (Ed.), Leading Works in Health Law and Ethics Routledge
- View this article in WRRO Pharmacists' perception of ethical conflict and professional guidance in light of the revised General Pharmaceutical Council Standards of Conduct, Ethics and Performance
- View this article in WRRO Research Briefing: Pharmacists' perceptions of ethical conflict and professional guidance
- Research group
I would be happy to supervise students in the following subjects:
- Health Law and Ethics
- Family Law - especially relating to children and health.
Title/Description: The Future of Human Reproduction: New Agendas and Methods for the Humanities and Social Science
- Awarding Body: Wellcome
- People Involved: Professor Stephen Wilkinson (PI, Lancaster University); Dr Kirsty Dunn (CI, Lancaster University); Professor Sharon Rushton (CI, Lancaster University); Professor Elena Semino (CI, Lancaster University); Dr Emmanuel Tsekleves (CI, Lancaster University); Dr Nicola Williams (CI, Lancaster University)
- Years Funded for: May 2022-August 2025
- Amount Awarded (£): 1,019,767
Title/Description: When pandemic and everyday ethics collide: Supporting ethical decision-making in maternity care and paediatrics during the Covid-19 pandemic
- Awarding Body: UKRI/AHRC Covid-19 Rapid Response funding
- People Involved: Dr Lucy Frith (PI, University of Manchester); Dr Paul Baines (CI, University of Warwick); Dr Anna Chiumento (CI, University of Liverpool); Professor Heather Draper (CI, University of Warwick)
- Years Funded for: 2020-2021
- Amount Awarded (£): 258,812
Title/Description: Uterus transplantation: Law, ethics, patients and policy
- Awarding Body: ESRC IAA
- People Involved: Professor Stephen Wilkinson (Lancaster University); Dr Laura O'Donovan (Lancaster University); Dr Nicola Williams (Lancaster University)
- Years Funded for: 2021
- Amount Awarded (£): 14,180
- Teaching interests
- Health Care Law and Ethics
- Family Law (especially relating to children)
- Teaching activities
The modules I teach are:
- Children and the Law
- Family Law
- Principles of Healthcare Law and Ethics
- PhD Legal Research Methods
- Professional activities and memberships
- Joint Editor-in-Chief, Medical Law Review.
- Member of the AHRC Peer Review College.
- Member of the SLS EDI Committee.
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
- External ethics adviser on Children Palliative Care Outcome Scale (C-POS), funded by European Research Council.
- Member the Children’s Health Ethics and Law Special Interest Group (CHELSIG).