Browse/search for people

Dr Judy Laing

Dr Judy Laing

Dr Judy Laing
LLB, PhD(Leeds)

Reader in Law

Area of research

Reader in Law

Office 2.02
8-10 Berkeley Square,
Bristol, BS8 1HH
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 39 40093



Dr Judy Laing is a Reader 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 medical & mental health law 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 is currently jointly editing and co-authoring a chapter in the fourth edition of Principles of Medical Law, which is due to be published by Oxford University Press in 2016.

Judy co-authored a chapter on 'Mental Health Professionals' (with Nicola 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 on aspects of mental health /medical law 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 Professor Peter 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 Congress, Vienna in July 2015. 

Judy was awarded a research grant by the British Academy in 2011 to conduct research into the role of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in monitoring mental health legislation and overseeing standards of mental health care.  The research findings were published in the Medical Law Review and Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law (see publications below). Judy is a member of the Human Rights Implementation Centre at Bristol and she conducted an international comparative study (with Professor Rachel Murray, HRIC) funded by the Care Quality Commission of mental health monitoring mechanisms. The CQC commissioned this research to inform the development of a new monitoring strategy. The study findings are available on the CQC's website and also published in an edited collection on Torture in Healthcare Settings listed below.  Judy was invited to join the CQC's Mental Health Act Expert Advisory Group in October 2014. 

Judy is a member of the Editorial Board of the Medical Law Review 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's current teaching is in Medical Law, Tort Law and Introduction to Law. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Judy welcomes expressions of interest from prospective PhD students relating to mental health/capacity law, criminal justice and human rights.

Selected Publications

  • J M 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) In press
  • J M Laing, Perspectives on Monitoring Mental Health Legislation in England: A view from the Front Line’ (2014) Medical Law Review Advance Access
  • J M 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
  • (with 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 M Laing, The Mental Health Act: exploring the role of nurses (2012) 21(4) British Journal of Nursing 234-238.

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

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

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


  • Mental health law
  • Medical law
  • Criminal justice


  • Member - Society of Legal Scholars Member - Care Quality Commission Mental Health Act Expert Advisory Group

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system


Dr Laing currently teaches 4 courses:

Edit this profile If you are Dr Judy Laing, you can edit this page. Login required.

PDF versionDownload PDF