Jonathan obtained a BA in Philosophy from Bristol University, after which he worked in IT for three years before starting his PhD in Political Theory at Manchester. His first full-time academic post was as a Philosophy Lecturer at Keele from 1994-7. After lecturing and research posts at Manchester, he returned to Keele in 2001 and became a founding member and then Director of the Centre for Professional Ethics. Jonathan has developed and directed postgraduate ethics courses for practitioners in fields including healthcare, social care, biotechnology and policing. He has provided training in research ethics for numerous Research Ethics Committee members, postgraduates and researchers in the UK and Europe, and was lead author of the European Commission’s European Textbook on Ethics in Research.

Research and scholarship

Jonathan’s research uses ethical theory and philosophical argument to address ethical issues in healthcare, including topics such as conscientious objection in healthcare, autism and neurodiversity, healthcare resource allocation, and end-of-life decisions. He has also written on the ethics of cold case criminal investigations. Before specialising in bioethics, Jonathan’s research was in political philosophy, specifically the relation between Marx’s theory of history and the environment, which was the subject of his PhD thesis and first book.

Jonathan welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in areas related to his current and recent research.



  • Law and Ethics
  • Law Dissertation


  • Ethics in Research (Module Leader)
  • Moral Theory and Medical Ethics (Module Leader)
  • Life, Death and the Human Body
  • Healthcare, Justice and Society (Module Leader)
  • Ethical Issues in the Care of the Dying
  • Policy, Resources and Research Ethics in Palliative Care
  • Medical Ethics and Law Dissertation
  • The Emergence of Adult Safeguarding

Doctoral supervision


  • Best interests decisions for people with advanced dementia: a qualitative study of nurses’ perspectives in England


  • The role of social value in organ allocation decisions
  • The ethics of clinical trials in low to middle income developing countries
  • Moral particularism in medical ethics
  • The ethical demands on the developed world of HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Global health inequality: justice and public health ethics
  • The National Care Record Service: an ethically acceptable system?
  • Ethics of neonatal clinical trials

Further information

Conference and workshop organisation

  • ‘30 Years of Medical Ethics and Law: Looking back, moving forward’. Co-organiser of a conference to mark the 30th Anniversary of Keele’s Medical Ethics and Law Programme, 2017.
  • ‘Ethics of Disordering’. Co-organiser of a workshop funded by the Royal Institute of Philosophy, Keele University, 2016.
  • ‘Workshop on Ethical Policing’. Lead organiser of a workshop supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers and funded by the British Academy. Attended by academics, regulators, senior police officers and others, and described by one former Chief Constable as ‘a major first for the UK police service’. Keele University, 2011.
  • ‘Research Ethics in Europe: What is done and how it could be done better’. Co-organiser of a workshop funded by the European Textbook on Ethics in Research project, Keele University, 2010.

External examining

  • PhD, York-Hull Medical School, 2018
  • PhD, University of Melbourne, 2015
  • MA in Medical Ethics and Law, King’s College London, 2009-13

Peer reviewing

  • Journals: Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice; Bioethics; Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics; Clinical Ethics; Ecological Economics; Environmental Politics; Ethical Theory and Moral Practice; Ethics and Social Welfare; Health Care Analysis; Journal of Global Ethics; Journal of Medical Ethics; Journal of Medical Law and Ethics; Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy; Political Studies; Studies in Marxism.
  • Book publishers: Bloomsbury; Manchester University Press; OUP; Policy Press; Routledge; Sage; Springer; Wiley-Blackwell; Willan Publishing.


School of Law
Keele University
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 733218
Fax: +44 (0)1782 733228
Email: School of Law Office

Admissions enquiries:
Tel: +44(0)1782 733218

Postgraduate enquiries:
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 733218