Jean McHale

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

Professor McHale has written several monographs and textbooks in the area of health care law.  Her first monograph Medical Confidentiality and Legal Privilege was published by Routledge in 1993. The second edition of her textbook Health Care Law Cases and Materials with Marie Fox (Sweet and Maxwell) and the third edition of her textbook Law and Nursing with John Tingle (Butterworth Heinemann) were both published in 2007.  She is also a co-editor and contributor to two major volumes of essays for Oxford University Press, Principles of Mental Health Law (1st edition) (with Peter Bartlett, Larry Gostin, Phil Fennell and Ronnie MacKay) 2010 and Principles of Medical Law (4th Edition) (with Judy Laing) 2017. She has published papers in wide range of legal and health care professional journals. She has given invited papers at numerous conferences and seminars to legal, health care professional and policy audiences and has been invited to give evidence in relation to the impact of Brexit on health care to the House of Commons Health Select Committee (2017).

Her main research themes currently are health law and the EU and the implications of Brexit. Secondly, legal and ethical challenges regarding regulation of cosmetic procedures. Thirdly health care and  human rights particularly in the context of Whistleblowing and in relation to older people.

She was one of the academic directors of the third Birmingham Policy Commission "Healthy Ageing in the C21st." See further her podcast with the University of Birmingham Ideaslab about the policy and political implications of healthy ageing in the UK and the Commission website.

Research Funding

  • ESRC Grant “Health Law Outside the EU: Immediate, Intermediate and Long-Term Impacts” (May 2017- November 2018)( Principal Applicant. Co-I’s Professor Tamara Hervey ( Sheffield), Dr Mark Flear (QUB).
  • National Institute for Health Research “Understanding Employee Whistleblowing in Health Care” ,co-applicant. P.I. Professor RusseLL Mannion, Health Service Management, University of Birmingham.
  • AHRC Research Network Award " The Changing Requirements of Beauty: Concepts, Norms and Regulations". Co-applicant with Professor Heather Widdows 2015-6.
  • Wellcome Trust Conference Award 2014 "A Critical Exploration of Global Public Health" Principal applicant with Dr Sheelagh McGuinness, co-applicant.
  • AHRC Research Networking Award “The Influence of Faith and Belief on the Formulation, Content and Operation of Health Law in the United Kingdom” with colleagues from Universities of Birmingham, De Montfort, Leicester, Nottingham and Nottingham Trent.  2013-4.
  • Wellcome Trust Conference Award 2011“Regulation and Professionalisation in Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Concerns” (Principal applicant with Dr Nicola Gale co-applicant)
  • Modern Law Review Seminar Series award “Health Law, Faiths and Beliefs: New Dilemmas: New Perspectives” £2500 (with Dr Kola Abimbola)  2006"
  • ESRC, Childhood cancer tissue donations: a gift relationship?" funded by the ESRC (2004-7).  (PI Professor Mary Dixon-Woods, University of Leicester. I was a coapplicant and a  member of a research team which included C. Seale, B. Young, K. Pritchard-Jones, M. Tobin, D.Heney, and M. Habiba.
  • British Academy (2000) Travel award
  • ESRC "NHS Contracts, from Legal Concepts to Operational Reality” ESRC (1993-1996) "Contracts and Completion Initiative". Co-applicant with  Professor David Hughes, University of Swansea)
  • Kings Fund Institute 1992-4 with  Professor Robert Dingwall , University of Nottingham, “Organ Donation: A Question of Give and Take”


Jean McHale took up a chair at the University of Birmingham in September 2009. She previously taught at the Universities of East Anglia, Nottingham, Manchester and Leicester.

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

Health and Health Care Law, in particular,

Health Law and the EU
Health Care Privacy and Confidentiality
Legal Regulation of Genetics
Law and Nanomedicine
Legal Regulation of Use of Human Material
Legal Regulation of Clinical Research
Mental Health Law
Organ Transplantation