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Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences

Faculty of Law

BdL 2019 v2


If doctors believe that they might be able to save a dying child, should the parents have the freedom to pursue this treatment? If a court decides that the treatment is not in the child's best interests, should it have unlimited authority to intervene? When deciding what care a child receives, should the wishes of the parents be given any weight? These questions raise complex issues about the boundaries of court power, and how far the state can intervene in what might be considered private, family decisions. They demand we consider the extent to which we give parents the freedom to decide about their children and when this might yield to consideration about the child's welfare. Who knows best? The court? The doctors? The parents? In this talk, Dr Imogen Goold (University of Oxford, Faculty of Law) will explore these and related questions about the scope of parental and judicial power.

About the Speaker

Imogen Goold is Associate Professor in Law at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of St Anne's College. She 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. Her research interests include the regulation of IVF, the ownership of human body parts and the impact of artificial intelligence on the law of tort.


 The event is free, but please register here

Further Details


The lecture will begin promptly at 5:15pm.  Please arrive in a good time as we expect that the event will be well-attended.  Doors will open at 5:00pm.  The lecture will be followed by Q&A and a drinks reception.


Room LG17, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge

Parking and transportation:

There is limited on-site parking (contact and some metered on-street parking. The venue is on the route for the Uni 4 bus service, alight at West Road, CB3 (further information here).

Questions and more information:

For more information about the Center for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences, as well as the Baron de Lancey Lectures, click here.  For questions, please email us:


This event is kindly sponsored by the Ver Heyden de Lancey Fund, and organised by the Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences.

Friday, 8 March, 2019 - 17:15 to 19:00
Event location: 
Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge