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Zoe Picton-Howell



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

Associate Lecturer/PBL Tutor 

I qualified and worked as a regional and then national newspaper journalist after completing a degree in English. However, my studies in media law as part of my training sparked my interest in the law and I soon switched career paths.

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 smaller London firm specialising in media law and acting for German businesses, heading up the firm's litigation and employment department.

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 successfully 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 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 Committee and gave workshops for health professionals on health and human rights.

I am currently a PBL tutor and the current lead for the undergraduate healthcare law module 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 social sciences and health ethics and society courses, 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’ which brings together students and staff from YLS, HYMS and Health Sciences.

My commissioned book chapter entitled Disabled young people’s participation in end-of-life decisions, In Brady L.M. (ed) Embedding young people’s participation in health services: new approaches. Bristol: The Policy Press, is currently under review and due for publication in Autumn 2020. 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)’ in 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 publications and conference presentations for 2018/2019 include:


Journal Articles

Zoe Picton-Howell, ‘Hardliners’ and ‘Softliners’: approaches to end-of-life decisions for disabled children. Archives of Disease in Childhood, G483(P), 2019; 104: A194

Zoe Picton-Howell, ‘Health for All? A medico-legal analysis of UK paediatrician’s end-of-life decision-making for disabled children’, Bioethics (under review) 

Book Chapters

Zoe Picton-Howell, Disabled young people’s participation in end-of-life decisions, In Brady L.M. (ed) (under review, scheduled for publication late 2020). Embedding young people’s participation in health services: new approaches. Bristol: The Policy Press

Zoe Picton-Howell, In Whose Best Interests? In, Ethics From the Ground Up (Springer Nature 2018) 68-76


‘Multi-voices, one message: Listening to understand’, NHS Expo, Pop-Up University Workshop, Manchester, 2019

‘Hardliners’ and ‘Softliners’: approaches to end-of-life decisions for disabled children, Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health Conference, Birmingham, May 2019 (Poster)

How should and how do UK paediatricians make end-of-life decisions for disabled children? Helen House Children’s Hospice, Oxford, March 2019

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