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Professor Judy Laing


Judy Laing is Professor of Mental Health Law, Rights, and Policy in the School of Law at the University of Bristol. She has previously taught at Leeds, Liverpool and Cardiff universities. Her main research and teaching interests are in mental health law, policy and human rights. She has also written on the intersection between mental health and criminal law/justice. Her monograph Care or Custody? Mentally Disordered Offenders in the Criminal Justice System (Oxford University Press, 1999) was awarded a prestigious SLS prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship by a Younger Scholar in 2000. Judy recently jointly edited and co-authored a chapter in the fourth edition of the leading health law text, Principles of Medical Law, published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

Judy co-authored a chapter on 'Mental Health Professionals' (with Prof N Glover-Thomas) in L. Gostin et al (Eds) Principles of Mental Health Law (Oxford University Press, 2010). She has published extensively in a number of peer-reviewed journals and edited collections, primarily on aspects of mental health /health law, human rights and criminal law/justice. She has delivered numerous conference and seminar papers to a variety of audiences, both nationally and internationally, including a number of invited contributions. Judy jointly organised (with Prof P Barlett, University of Nottingham) a session on Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the International Academy of Law & Mental Health (IALMH) Congress, Vienna in July 2015 which led to the publication of a special issue in the International Journal of Law & Psychiatry. She organised a further session at the IALMH Congress in Prague, July 2017 in collaboration with the United Kingdom National Preventive Mechanism on promoting international human rights in mental health monitoring under the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture. 

Judy was invited in July 2017 to participate in an expert meeting on the conclusions relating to a report on UK psychiatric institutions by the European Committee on the Prevention of Torture (CPT) at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre's Detention, Rights and Social Justice Programme. The CPT report, published in April 2017, highlighted several human rights concerns about the treatment of patients detained in psychiatric hospitals in England. The meeting led to an outcome paper setting out recommendations for change and implementation.

Judy is currently supervising two PhD students and welcomes expressions of interest from prospective PhD students on topics relating to mental health/capacity law, human rights and criminal law/justice.

Judy is a member of the Editorial Board of the Medical Law Review, International Journal of Law & Psychiatry and the Journal of Medical Law & Ethics. She has previously held editorial positions with the Medical Law Review (Assistant Editor), Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law (Case Note Editor) and the Journal of Law & Society.

Judy is currently the Faculty Admissions and Recruitment Officer for Law and Director of Student Admissions and Recruitment in the School of Law. She is a member of the School's Senior Management Group.

Selected Publications

  • J Laing, J Dixon, K Stone & M Wilkinson-Tough, The Nearest Relative in the Mental Health Act 2007: Still an illusionary and inconsistent safeguard? (2018) Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, In press
  • J. Laing, Delivering informed consent post-Montgomery: Implications for medical practice and professionalism' (2017) 33(2) Journal of Professional Negligence 128-152.
  • J Laing & R Murray, ‘Measuring the Incidence of Article 3 violations in Places of Detention in the UK: Implications for the National Preventive Mechanism’ (2017) 6 European Human Rights Law Review 564-585.
  • J.  Laing, ‘Preventing violence, exploitation and abuse of persons with mental disabilities: Exploring the monitoring implications of Article 16 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities' (2017) 53 International Journal of Law & Psychiatry 27-38.
  • P. Bartlett & J. Laing, Special Issue: Protecting People with Mental Disabilities from Violence, Exploitation and Abuse: Unlocking the potential of Article 16 of the UN CRPD (2017) 53 International Journal of Law & Psychiatry 1-110
  • J Laing, Doctors Orders? Appropriate medical treatment in mental health law’ in S Fovargue & A Mullock (Eds), The Legitimacy of Medical Treatment: What Role for the Medical Exception? (Routledge, 2015)
  • J Laing, Perspectives on Monitoring Mental Health Legislation in England: A view from the Front Line’ (2014) 23(3) Medical Law Review 400-426
  • J Laing,  Monitoring the rights of patients in psychiatric settings:  A comparison of the work of the Mental Health Act Commission with the CQC (2014) 36(2) The Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 149-167
  • J M Laing & R Murray, ‘An International Comparison of Mechanisms in Mental Health Monitoring’ in Torture in Healthcare Settings (Centre for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, University of Washington, 2014)
  • E Steineirte, R Murray & J M Laing, Monitoring those deprived of their liberty in psychiatric and social care institutions and national practice in the UK (2012) 16(6) The International Journal of Human Rights 865-882

  • J Laing, The Mental Health Act: exploring the role of nurses (2012) 21(4) British Journal of Nursing 234-238.

  • A Grubb, J Laing & J McHale (Eds) Principles of Medical Law, 3rd Edn (OUP 2011).

  • J Laing & N Glover-Thomas, ‘Mental Health Law’ in A Grubb (Eds) Principles of Medical Law (OUP 2011).

  • J Laing & N Glover-Thomas, ‘Mental Health Professionals’ in L Gostin at al (Eds) Principles of Mental Health Law & Policy (OUP 2010).