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Prof Sir Jonathan Montgomery
Bentham House
Endsleigh Gardens
Prof Sir Jonathan Montgomery profile picture
  • Professor of Healthcare Law
  • Faculty of Laws

In addition to my academic work, I have undertaken a number of public service roles.These currently include Chair of Oxford University Hospitals NHSFT and co-chair of the Moral and Ethical Advisory Group within the Department of Health and Social Care. I am a member of the Bayer Pharmaceuticals International Bioethics Council. In 2019 I was awarded a knighthood for services to Bioethics and Healthcare Law. I was elected to Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2021.

My previous national chair roles include the Advisory Committee onClinical Excellence Awards (2005-14) and the Human Genetics Commission(2009-12), Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (thenearest the UK has to a national bioethics committee) 2012-2017, and Chair of the Health Research Authority 2012-1019 (which protects and promotes the interests of participants, patients and the public in health research and aims to streamline its regulation). I served on local NHS boards in Hampshire and the Isle of Wightfor over twenty years up to March 2013, where my roles includedchairing the cluster of primary care trusts that commissioned services for theresidents of Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, and Portsmouth. Ihad previously chaired a strategic health authority and two provider trusts.

I chaired the UK Clinical Research Collaboration Working Party on aStrategy for Brain Tissue Banking, and sat on the Scientific Steering Committeeof Brain Banks UK. I was a member of the Committee on the Ethical Aspectsof Pandemic Influenza. I sat on the Organ Donation Taskforce for its workon presumed consent in 2008 and was been a member of the Medical EthicsCommittee of the British Medical Association from 2003 to 2008. I was a member of the panel of advisers to the Morecambe Bay Investigation, which reported in 2015.

I have been involved in the preparation of ethical guidance in a numberof areas of health practice, including

Hymenoplasty (2022)

Confidentiality (GMC, 2017)

Report on the Genetic Testing ofChildren 2010 (British Society for Human Genetics).

Public Health Ethics (Nuffield Council on Bioethics, 2007).

Withholding or Withdrawing Life SavingTreatment in Children: A Framework for Practice (Royal College ofPaediatrics and Child Health, 1997).

Genetic Testing of Children: Report ofa Working Party of the Clinical Genetics Society (ClinicalGenetics Society, 1994).

Guidelines for the Ethical Conduct ofResearch Involving Children (British Paediatric Association, 1992).

Research Summary

My most significant research contributions lie in the field that I have described as Health Care Law, where I am widely recognised as both having redefined the subject area and made a significant contribution to its theoretical understanding. My work is discussed as one of the main theoretical frameworks for the subject area in many monographs and textbooks; e.g. Hervey & McHale Health Law and the EU (2004); O'Donovan in the foreword and the editors Sheldon & Thomson, Feminist Perspectives on Health Care Law (1998); Veitch The Jurisdiction of Medical Law (2007), Coggon What Makes Health Public? (2012). Reviewers of the first edition of my textbook Health Care Law described my work as: ‘some of the most important and interesting legal analysis of medical law as a discipline' (Journal of Medical Ethics), and suggested that I had ‘...created in the last 10 years vantage points from which to get a better sense of the legal environment, framing perspectives through existing sociological insights and informed with empirical findings' (Lancet).

The three principal strands of my approach are that (a) the subject area is better understood as ‘Health Care Law’ than ‘Medical Law’, (b) the widespread assumption that ‘medical law’ is concerned with subjecting doctors to legal regulation in order to promote ethical goals, misrepresents the practice of law-makers who have mostly sought to integrate professional norms into legal practice and reinforce them rather than challenge them, and (c) that more attention needs to be paid to the need to legitimate legal interventions in health care ethics.

More recently, I have developed a programme of work around 'Bioethics Governance', drawing attention to the practices that have emerged to address bioethical issues and bridging the academic and policy disciplines that have interests in the field. The approach is described in my piece 'Bioethics as a Governance Practice' (2016) (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10728-015-0310-2#/page-1) and developed in a number of pieces including 'Bioethics after Brexit' (http://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/publication/1591064/1). My J Kenyon Mason Annual Lecture 2017, 'New Bearings in Health Research Ethics: Towards a Social Contract Paradigm', set out a programme of issues that we need to take forward if we are to keep pace with the ethics of health and social care research (https://youtu.be/IkaKkb3Yc3E). My paper to the Council of Europe Conference celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Oviedo Convention concerned the origins and future of restructions on modification of the human germline (http://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/publication/1591062/1).

Teaching Summary

Health Care Law (LLB) considers the role of law in grappling withcontemporary problems arising in the context of health services in England. Itexploits my connections with the NHS to identify live issues and how they arebeing approached. Summative assessment is by a law reform project andexamination. For the former, students identify an area of health care law oftheir choice that could be improved, demonstrate its current problems, explainhow the reform would be achieved, and why this reform should be introduced. Theexamination asks students to consider thematic issues; such as whether the lawhas proved itself sufficiently flexible to be a force for good in theregulation of health care, the role of judges in resolving morally charged disputesin a pluralist society, the protection of the human rights of patients, andvirtues and vices of clinical freedom.

Tort (LLB) includes a number of special seminar topics, to which I contribute on 'Clinical Negligence: Tort Law in Action'. 

Bioethics Governance (LLM) draws on my experience of 'publicethics' bodies, including as chair of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics, theHealth Research Authority and the Human Genetics Commission. The course exploresthe governance of bioethical issues in liberal democracies through acombination of conceptual analysis and case studies (drawn principally from theUK, with selected international comparisons). It considers problems in thedefinition and theory of bioethics, including its nature and scope, andcritically examines the question of whether it is a discipline in its own rightor a field of study. The course also examines bioethics as a governance practice;whereby issues are deliberated and sometimes regulated using socialinstitutions (e.g. commissions, courts, licensing bodies), raising questionsabout authority and the ‘enforcement of morality’. Assessment is by a researchbased project that draws on a number of different cases studies to answer anessay question critically evaluating the most appropriate governance approachesto a problem in bioethics identified by the student, subject to approval by theconvenor.

01-APR-2019 Chair   Oxford University Hospitals NHSFT, United Kingdom
01-JUL-2012 – 31-AUG-2019 Chair   Health Research Authority, United Kingdom
01-FEB-2012 – 28-FEB-2017 Chair   Nuffield Council on Bioethics, United Kingdom
01-FEB-2009 – 31-JAN-2012 Chair   Human Genetics Commision, United Kingdom
01-APR-2005 – 31-MAR-2014 Chair   Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards, United Kingdom
01-AUG-2001 – 30-SEP-2013 Professor of Health Care Law Law University of Southampton, United Kingdom
01-SEP-1984 – 31-JUL-2001 Reader, Senior Lecturer, Lecturer Law University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1984   Master of Laws University of Cambridge
1983   Bachelor of Arts University of Cambridge
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