Photo of Dr Danielle Griffiths

Dr Danielle Griffiths PhD; MA; BSci (Hons)



Personal Statement

Danielle Griffiths joined the Law School in November 2021 having previously held lectureships at the University of Sussex (2016-2021) and the University of Manchester (2014-2016). Prior to this, she held Research Fellowship positions on large Wellcome and AHRC funded projects within the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy, and the Institute of Science Ethics and Innovation, at the University of Manchester.

Danielle has published extensively and is a recognised international expert in healthcare law and ethics and criminal law. She has publications in high impact legal journals including Child and Family Law Quarterly, Law, Innovation and Technology, Healthcare Analysis, Clinical Risk, Journal of Medical Ethics and Professional Negligence and in volumes published by Cambridge University Press (CUP), Palgrave Macmillan and Routledge. Her work has been extensively cited in major policy reports, in leading medical and criminal law textbooks, and academic articles. This research has influenced the work of organisations including the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Law Commission, Royal Medical Colleges and General Medical Council (GMC), and had wider societal benefit, for example, improving accountability in cases of medical error and reducing fear among medical professionals. She has received funding from various bodies including the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Her main areas of expertise are healthcare law, criminal law and criminal justice (in particular prosecutorial decision-making), family law and feminist/gender theory. She has particular expertise in the following two areas:

Firstly, a major strand of her work focuses on how the human body has interacted with technologies, socio-cultural contexts and the rule of law. Her work has explored how law has sought to grapple with medical, reproductive and genetic developments, (including mitochondrial replacement therapy, donor conception, surrogacy, and in vitro gametogenesis (IVG)) enabling and constraining their use according to social and legal definitions of parenthood, kinship, personhood and the proper boundaries of human bodies. This strand of research has influenced several organisations, for example her research on surrogacy (with Amel Alghrani) was cited several times by the Law Commission of England Wales, and has resulted in several funding projects such as ‘Reproductive Medicine and the Family: Building Interdisciplinary Synergy’ (PI University of Manchester Pump Prime Fund, £55,000).

Secondly, her research focuses on the intersection between medicine and the criminal law. She is an international expert on the law relating to gross negligence manslaughter and has a long track record of working closely with organisations such as the CPS, GMC, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Coroners. and the National Police Chiefs Council to empirically examine law and process around grossly negligent medical harms. Most recently she was awarded ESRC funding to work in partnership with the Special Crime and Counter Terror Division within the CPS to examine decision-making in medical manslaughter cases. This work contains the most accurate data published to date in relation to the number of GNM investigations and prosecutions. These findings led to change in a number of policies in order to improve the handling of such cases. The research has also influenced the work of various organisations including General Medical Council (GMC) and the Hospital Specialist and Consultant Association, and has been presented to various medical communities including the Royal College of Physicians. Her work actively informed and influenced the Independent review of gross negligence manslaughter which was published in June 2019 and contained a number of recommendations for organisations including the police, coroners and healthcare organisations. Other funding for this work includes an AHRC follow-on funded funded project which explored the ‘Impact of the Criminal Process on Healthcare Ethics and Practice’ (£150,000).

Drawing on criminal law and feminist legal theory, her work (with Alex Mullock) has also considered how certain contentious bodily interventions such as cosmetic surgery come to give rise to the medical exception to the criminal law. She has gone on to explore how such treatments should be regulated in England and Wales, and this work in this has been widely cited within the academic literature as well as policy consultations including the Nuffield Foundation in their consultation on the regulation of cosmetic procedures.

Danielle is the Director of the Health Law and Regulation Unit within the School of Law

Having a strong background in social research methods and socio-legal studies, she has led on the implementation of university strategy on various research support and funding related issues at a School level at the University of Sussex. She was a Member and Reviewer for the Social Sciences and Arts Cross School Research Ethics Committee at the University of Sussex for over 4 years. Drawing on this expertise in funding matters, she is currently the Socio-Legal Studies Pathway lead for the North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership

She currently sits on the editorial board of Medical Law International. She became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2019.