Lecture Series Covers Children & Consent to Medical Treatment, Body Part Ownership, Freezing Eggs

Gresham College, London’s oldest Higher Education Institution, is delighted to announce the appointment of Imogen Goold as Visiting Professor of Medical Law in 2021-2.

Goold is Associate Professor of the Faculty of Law at Oxford, and has published widely on medical law with books including Great Debates in Medical Law. She will be giving a series of three free public lectures on children and consent to medical treatment, body part ownership and freezing eggs.

Goold was an associate editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, and interned at the World Health Organisation, working on genetic testing. Before coming to Oxford, she worked on the Australian Law Reform Commission inquiries into Gene Patenting and Genetic Information Privacy.

She has written on issues such as the ownership of human body parts, reproductive medicine and obligations to neuroenhance. Her current focus is the legal regulation of decisions regarding children, and she has recently edited two volumes of essays on this topic. She is currently working on a book on the law and ethics of decisions about children’s medical care (with Cressida Auckland of the LSE).

Visiting Professor Goold said:

“I am a strong believer in Gresham’s mission to bring academic work to the wider community. I’ve undertaken public engagement work on abortion law and women’s stories, on human enhancement, and on body part ownership and I believe public engagement and outreach from the academic sphere to the wider public is hugely important.”

As Visiting Professor of Law, Goold will continue the 425-year-old tradition of delivering free lectures aimed at the public within the City of London and beyond. Gresham College live streams lectures online and delivers them to physical audiences in London, with over  6 million views of lectures online last year.  More than 2,500 past lectures are freely available to view on the College’s website. Gresham has given law lectures since 1597 when Law was one of the original seven Gresham Professorships established in Thomas Gresham’s will.

Dr Simon Thurley, Provost of Gresham College, said:

“We’re delighted to have Imogen Goold join us as a Visiting Professor. She brings with her a wealth of expertise on medical law in some highly controversial areas that are very relevant for society right now because of the way medical treatment and practices are changing, and is a clear and brilliant communicator.”

More about the College’s work.

A series of six lectures a year is delivered by each of the College’s ten Professors, and usually three lectures by each of our five Visiting Professors. There are a further 40 or so individual lectures from a range of illustrious speakers selected from the worlds of academia, the arts, law, medicine, politics and industry.

In 2021-2, Visiting Professor Goold will be lecturing on:

Medical Law  gres.hm/medical-law starts 25/10/21

Visiting Professor Goold will discuss three important issues in medical law: who owns your body parts? Who can decide what medical treatment is given to children? And what are the legal issues around freezing eggs and delaying fertility?

Children and Consent to Medical Treatment

1 pm Monday 25 October gres.hm/children-medicine

Barnard's Inn Hall/ Online (Or Watch Later)

How does the law consider children in cases involving medical consent? This lecture will look at how doctors (and parents) should talk their children about illness. It will also consider what should happen when parents and doctors disagree about what a child should be told. The overall law on consent has changed markedly in England and Wales since Montgomery (2015), and requires doctors to share and explain risks, but it is not clear how far this applies to children, particularly older children.

Your Body Parts and the Law

1 pm Monday 17 January gres.hm/body-law

Barnard's Inn Hall/ Online (Or Watch Later)

Do we own our own body parts? What can we do with them? Can we sell them and control what others do with them? People often say, "it’s my body", but the law is much more complex. This lecture explains the law on body part ownership, tracing it from the early legal cases through the body-snatching years of the Victorian period, to the present day. Should we use the law of property to regulate human tissue?

Freezing Eggs and Delaying Fertility: Law, Ethics and Society

1 pm Monday 11 April gres.hm/fertility-law

Barnard's Inn Hall/ Online (Or Watch Later)

With the development of new vitrification techniques, egg freezing has become a viable option for women to protect and extend their fertility. Being able to control when to have children can help achieve life-goals. But there are downsides. This lecture explains the science of fertility and egg freezing, the impact of child-bearing and rearing on women’s educational and employment prospects, and outlines the law on freezing eggs.  It will cover the complex issues around the law's regulation of this practice.

More about Imogen Goold:

Imogen Goold studied Law and Modern History at the University of Tasmania, Australia, receiving her PhD in 2005. Her doctoral research explored the use of property law to regulate human body parts. She also received a Masters degree in Bioethics from the University of Monash in 2005. From 1999, she was a research member of the Centre for Law and Genetics, where she published on surrogacy laws, legal constraints on access to infertility treatments and proprietary rights in human tissue. In 2002, she took up as position as a Legal Officer at the Australian Law Reform Commission, working on the inquiries into Genetic Information Privacy and Gene Patenting. After leaving the ALRC in 2004, she worked briefly at the World Health Organisation, researching the provision of genetic medical services in developing countries. She currently Fellow and Tutor in Law at St Anne’s College, Oxford and Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford.

Goold is also an Academic Affiliate of Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, University of Oxford and a Research Associate, HeLEX, Centre for Health, Law & Emerging Technologies, University of Oxford.


Note to Editors:

  1. Further information and photographs from Lucia Graves in the press office: 07799 738 439 or l.graves@gresham.ac.uk.
  2. Press tickets are available for all lectures, please email Lucia to reserve a seat for any of our lectures.
  3. All our lectures next year are ticketed (free tickets) whether online or in-person; you can book all lectures up to Christmas online now; in-person booking opens 2 months ahead.
  4. In Sep 2021 we re-start free block School and College bookings for in-person lectures; email enquiries@gresham.ac.uk if teachers want to book, or to order free paper programmes for your school
  5. You can read more about ticketing here: https://www.gresham.ac.uk/news/ticket-safety
  6. Gresham College’s public lectures in numbers: 6.5 million + Youtube views of our lectures in 2020-21; 60,000 registered live views of our current year programme; 10,000 school/ College student registered live views.