Zoe Picton-Howell



Dr Zoe Picton-Howell
BA (Kingston). LLB (Lond), LLM (Glas), Dip RJ, Solicitor (Hons), PhD (Edinburgh)

Associate Lecturer/PBL Tutor 

After reading law at London University I completed my Law Society Finals at the College of Law, London (passing with Honours). I joined Nabarro Nathanson (now CMS, Nabarro & Olswang) as a trainee solicitor. I qualified as a solicitor and stayed with that firm specialising in commercial litigation, especially insolvency and media law and acting for German businesses trading within the UK. I then became a partner of a small London firm, heading up the firm's litigation and employment department, specialising in media law and acting for German businesses.

Following a move to Scotland, I completed my LLM in Human Rights at Glasgow Graduate Law School. My dissertation, for which I obtained a distinction, examined disabled children’s human rights to education and health in the UK. I successful completed my PhD thesis ‘UK Paediatricians’ Decision Making for Severely Disabled Children, A socio-legal analysis’ at Edinburgh University Law School in 2018. 

While in Scotland I was also a director and trustee of the Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights; the Scottish Chair and UK trustee and director for Contact A Family and served on several committees of the National Clinical Network for Children with Exceptional Health Needs, as well a Scottish Government advisory group on training health professionals. I also served on NHS Lothian’s Equality and Human Rights Committees and gave workshops for health professionals on health and human rights.

I am currently a PBL and healthcare law tutor at York Law School. (Previously I taught law with the Open University. I also taught healthcare professionals on the Mary Seacole Programme of the NHS Leadership Academy.) I also teach medical students at Edinburgh Medical School on their Health Ethics and Society course, including disability, mental health, social determinants of health and global health ethics. 

I am the author Edinburgh University law school’s post-graduate course for medical professionals entitled ‘Medical care for children, law, rights and ethics’. I am a module author for Disability Matters, the government funded training hub for professionals who work with children and young people. I also organise this university’s medico-legal ‘real world book group’ aiming to bring together students and staff from YLS, HYMS and Health Sciences.

My book chapter entitled ‘In Whose Best Interests?’ in ‘Ethics from the Ground Up’ edited by Wintrup J, Biggs H, Brannelly T, Fenwick A, et al, was published in September 2018. I am also the co-author of statutory and operational guidance published jointly by the Dfe and DHSC entitled ‘Child death review: statutory and operational guidance (England)’ on 15th October 2018.

I work closely with health professionals. I have served on many health-related national expert advisory, guideline and research committees, including CH-UK Expert Group on Child Epilepsy Death; Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health (RCPCH) Ethics & Law Committee and national council; NICE End of Life Care for Children Expert Guidelines Committee, the subsequent NICE quality standards committee and NCEPOD Child Chronic Neuro-disability advisory committee.

I regularly speak at conferences on issues related to child health law and disabled children’s rights, a sample of my conference presentations for 2018 include:

  • Health for All? A medico-legal analysis of paediatrician’s end-of-life decision making for disabled children in the UK, World Congress of Bioethics, Bangalore, India, December 2018
  • Developing Guidelines, Capturing Voices, British Medical Association, Women in Academic Medicine Conference, London, October 2018. (Invited/ Keynote)
  • Does Education in Law and Ethics Impact on UK Paediatrician’s End-of-Life Decisions for Severely Disabled Children? Institute of Medical Ethics, Research Conference, Oxford, June 2018
  • The Impact of Healthcare Professionals’ Communication on Maternal Mental Health, Leigh Day Solicitors Conference, Women’s Rights in Health Care, Goldsmiths Centre, London, May 2018. (Invited)
  • Giving Difficult or Different News, Public Health England Conference, London, March 2018. (Invited)

Contact details

Dr Zoe Picton-Howell
York Law School

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 5802