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Magdalena Furgalska



Magdalena Furgalska 
LLB (Hull), LLM (Birmingham), MA in Social Research (Birmingham), PhD Candidate (Birmingham) 


I joined York Law School in 2021, having previously taught at Durham Law School.

My PhD titled ‘Achieving Social Justice for Psychiatric Survivors: Capabilities and Advance Consent to Mental Health Treatment’ is a socio-legal and empirical examination of the desirability of advance consent (a type of advance decision) to mental health treatment in English law. I use the theoretical lens provided by the capabilities approach. In my PhD, I used narrative and photo-elicitation methodology to privilege lived experiences of mental health treatment.

Throughout my doctoral studies, I was involved in several research projects in the area of healthcare law, ethics, disability, and international human rights. Most notably, I was a Research Fellow at the WHO (2019 – 2021), working on systematic reviews that will underpin the law and policy chapter of the next edition of the Safe Abortion Guidance. I was previously a student researcher on the UN Women Project exploring gender equality in Constitutions. My research there focused on abortion provisions in the 2010 Kenyan Constitution.



My primary areas of research activity are socio-legal approaches to mental health law and medical law. I am particularly interested in interdisciplinary and empirical understandings of legal concepts relating to consent, advance decisions, and decision-making processes more broadly and most importantly how law works in everyday life. My secondary area of research activity and interest is reproductive healthcare law. I have a particular interest in abortion laws and consent and medical decision-making surrounding pregnant persons with mental health diagnoses. I adopt empirical socio-legal methodologies in my work.

  • Mental Health Law; consent (advance consent & informed consent), compulsory treatment, advance decisions and the clinical concept of ‘insight’

  • Mental Capacity Law; mental capacity and advance decisions

  • Reproductive Healthcare; abortion and reproductive decision-making, especially in the context of mental illness

  • Socio-legal theory and methods; innovative qualitative research methodologies

  • Law in everyday life

  • International Human Rights, in particular, the right to health, disability rights and women’s rights



  • Healthcare Law (module leader)
  • Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law
  • Introduction to Law and Society
  • Legal Concepts
  • Dissertation supervisor

External activities


  • Member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association

  • Member of the Society of Legal Scholars

  • Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences (CELLS Durham)

  • Centre for Health Law, Science and Policy (Birmingham)

Contact details

Ms Magdalena Furgalska
York Law School

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 5804