Mark Flear


  • Room 05.016 - Main Site Tower

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Open to PhD applications in:

Health law
Medical law
European law and global law and standards
Public health
New health technologies
Biomedical research
Clinical trials
Equitable access to research findings and new medicines and vaccines
Comparative health law
Comparative medical law
Risk regulation
Epistemic injustice


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Focus

I use research sites in health law, particularly those relating to public health and new health technologies, to advance scholarly, policy and public discussion on larger issues:

  • Epistemic dimensions of legal and regulatory decision-making - especially:
    • Citizen participation (paying particular attention to the integration of citizen or ‘lay’ knowledges and ‘expert’ knowledges);
    • Epistemic injustice (injustice to someone in their status as a knower);
    • Epistemic responsibility (to know or at least to know better).
  • Law and geography;
  • Health-related implications of Brexit;
  • Wider European health law.

Research Statement

Current projects

My current research means that many of the foci overlap to some extent. I am currently working on:

Summary of portfolio

My research record now encompasses: 3 books, including the one above, Governing Public Health (Hart Publishing, 2015 hb, 2018 pb) and European Law and New Health Technologies (Oxford University Press, 2013); 5 special issues of leading journals with me a lead guest editor (including the first special issue of Journal of Law and the Biosciences (with Richard Ashcroft, City, University of London)); 37 published articles and commissioned chapters (in eg Regional Studies, Journal of Medical Ethics, Laurie and others (eds), Handbook on Health Research Regulation, Cambridge University Press, 2021); lead contributions to 3 reports (European Commision; ESRC UK in Changing Europe); policy briefs, blogs (eg British Medical Journal; Nuffield Council on Bioethics), and articles in renowned newspapers (Guardian, Telegraph and Irish News).


My research is supported by grants, which since 2019 now include 2 further grants (1 ESRC (£36,940) and 1 French National Research Agency (321,881), for I-Biolex led by Aurélie Mahalatchimy, Aix-Marseille). This brings my career total for grants to almost £1,140,000.


Contributions within and outwith the academy

On the platform of my research, I make contributions both within and outwith the academy. I am co-founder and co-chair of an all-Ireland network (Northern/Ireland Health Law and Ethics Network with David Smith, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), as part of successful delivery of grants, through co-leading and founding a new Europe-wide scholarly network (Interest Group on Biolaw of the European Association of Health Law with Aurélie Mahalatchimy, Aix-Marseille); co-founding Europe-wide initiatives to inform policy (European Health Union group involving WHO Special Envoy Vytenis Andriukaiti; European Commission EU Health Policy Thematic Network on Pharmaceuticals, through which we produced a report for the Commission); and joining an international team of legal scholars working with the Nuffield Trust to highlight Brexit’s health implications. 

Through these networks I develop collaborations around research interest and mentor others through eg successfully organising conference streams (eg SLSA 2021, Cardiff), giving regular seminars (eg for the publication of the inaugural special issue of the Journal of Law and the Biosciences (which I co-edited with Richard Ashcroft, City, University of London), under the auspices of Harvard, Duke and Stanford; Nuffield Council; 3 x Oxford; Toronto; UCD; Vienna), and undertaking visiting positions (most recently at Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam, adding to Centre for Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies, University of Toronto, Rotterdam, Brussels and Cambridge).

Contributing to wider conversations

I contribute towards wider conversations around public health and new health technologies through membership of globally-recognised institutes (eg Mason Institute, Edinburgh), and participation in new high profile research projects (see above), and new advisory roles (eg EU-funded project on respiratory syncytial virus with budget of 7,024,387; Wellcome Trust funded Everyday Cyborgs 2.0; with other leading lawyers for the Nuffield Trust (see above)). My research also enables me to influence the strategic direction of law and policy proposals at the EU and (sub)national levels (eg Opinion 29 – European Group on Ethics, European Commission, which cites my work; evidence at Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly and Westminster) and informing wider global discussion (eg through the Nuffield Council on Bioethics with Sue Tansey, Council Member and Siobhán O'Sullivan, Executive Director, Royal Irish Academy, Professor, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Deputy Chair, European Group on Ethics, and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Bioethics in the Council of Europe).

External examining and peer reviewing roles

More widely, I serve my discipline as an External Examiner and PhD Examiner, and External Member of the Selection Committee for law posts at Trinity College Dublin, and regularly act as a peer reviewer for leading journals (eg Journal of Law and Society; American Journal of Bioethics; The Lancet; Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics), book publishers (eg Cambridge; Hart; Routledge), and funders (eg AHRC; Wellcome; EU-funded CIVIS3i programme for postdoctoral researchers).

Journal editor

I am also Chief Editor of the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, a leading journal founded in 1936. Working with a refreshed Editorial Board and International Editorial Board, we transformed and relaunched the journal in 2021.


Nearly 20 years of experience

I have nearly 20 years of experience teaching law at leading law schools in the United Kingdom (Nottingham and Queen's University Belfast), as well as in the Netherlands (for a summer school at Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam) and Austria (where I gave a Master Class at Universität Wien).

I have been primary supervisor for 50+ UG dissertations, 40+ PG (LLM) dissertations and (JD) theses, and 2 PhD students who successfully completed. I am currently supervising 1 PhD student.

My expertise as a Module Coordinator and teacher led me to undertake two terms (six years) as Exams Officer in the School of Law.

European Union Law and Medical Law and Ethics

I have taught European Law since before the start of my academic career, as a PhD student at the University of Nottingham (where my studies were funded by the AHRC - which also funded my LLM (Joint Masters) in European Law at Nottingham (Distinction level) and Maastricht).

In the School of Law, I am currently Module Coordinator for M Law European Internal Market Law. This module focuses on real-life issues as a way of making the content more relevant and accessible to students. I use a similar approach across other modules. These are currently Undergraduate Medical Law and Ethics and Postgraduate Medical Law and Ethics.

I took over the former after the retirement of Dr Ray Geary (who passed away in 2019). I learned a lot from Dr Geary, not least the importance of marrying academic rigour with being approachable, always saying hello and trying to make time for others. Through the Undergraduate module, and the Postgraduate module which I introduced, I hope to work with others to build on Dr Geary’s example, and keep his pioneering contribution to the School of Law alive.

Approach to teaching

Self-reflection is central to my teaching practice. Teaching and learning is encouraged through the integration of my research, the latest scholarship and invited speakers, as well as students’ own research, and integrating the Health Law and Ethics Seminar Series into the curriculum.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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