Research

Ruth takes a regulation approach to healthcare law. She is interested in the way that issues at the margins of healthcare law are regulated. A regulation lens offers a different perspective on the best way for the law to work in the area of healthcare. Her research explores the gap between law as written and law on the ground. Her work has shown that we ignore the human element of law at our peril.

Ruth is currently working on NHS regulation, encompassing the duty of candour and hospital food standards. Her 2017 Modern Law Review article, "The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014: A litany of fundamental flaws?" argued that the increasing role of criminal law in health services regulation was inevitable, but potentially harmful to the goal of improved patient safety. She argued that the process that led to the new regulations was to some extent deterministic of the nature of the new regulatory framework.

The regulation approach continues through Ruth's work on infant feeding and breastfeeding policy. Ruth is working with WBTi UK to help improve infant feeding policy in the UK. She is researching infant feeding in emergency situations with a view to making recommendations to improve the UK's state of readiness in this area. She hosted and presented at a workshop in Parliament in November 2017 on infant feeding in UK emergency preparedness. For more details, and information about how to contribute to the discussion, see the news page. Ruth's new project "My infant feeding journey: Women's experiences of infant feeding in the UK" asks women to write about their experiences of feeding their children. You can follow the Facebook page for updates on the project.

Much of Ruth's previous work - including her doctoral thesis and several articles - explores the legal and ethical issues surrounding the use of genetic information for non-health purposes. Her 2015 Medical Law Review article with Mark Wilkinson, "In search of a father: Legal challenges surrounding posthumous paternity testing" considers the law relating to the use of retained tissue for posthumous paternity testing. The paper used real examples to show the deficiencies in the law. Her thesis, "Gene Rummy: Keeping control of your hand" explored the implications of using predictive genetic test information for insurance purposes. It used a wide range of theoretical approaches, including Kantian and Millian philopsophy, human rights law, insurance law, and the regulation perspective.

Ruth is heading the Social and Legal Issues in Science and Health Research Group alongside Danielle Griffiths. The group tweets on @SLISH_Sussex

Ruth is happy to receive PhD applications relating to any of her research interests.