Professor Oliver Quick

Academic Member


Oliver is Professor of Law at the University of Bristol Law School.


Previous Appointments
  • 2022 – Professor of Law at the University of Bristol Law School
  • 2017 – 2022 – Reader in Law, University of Bristol Law School
  • 2001 – 2007 Lecturer in Law, University of Bristol Law School
  • 2000 – 2001 Part-time Lecturer, University of Wales Swansea
  • 1997 – 2001 Part-time Tutor, University of Wales, Cardiff
  • 2007 – Diploma in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, University of Bristol.
  • 2001- PhD “Error and the Medical Profession: Regulating Trust. The End of Professional Dominance?” University of Wales, Cardiff (Supervised by Professor Celia Wells)
  • 1997 – LLB Law & Politics (Class 2.1) University of Wales, Cardiff

Bristol Teaching Award – Outstanding Supervision of PG Research Students (2018)

Visiting Fellowships:

  • University of British Columbia (2019) (Population Health)
  • University of Auckland (2018) (Law)
  • University of Otago (2018) (Law)
  • National University of Singapore (2014) (Centre for Biomedical Ethics)
  • Boston University (2010) (Law)
  • University of Western Australia (2006) (Law)

My research is interdisciplinary and impactful, focusing on professionalism, regulation, safety, technology and trust in healthcare. I have published three books which have made major international contributions to scholarship in health law and criminal law. My path-breaking monograph Regulating Patient Safety: the End of Professional Dominance? (Cambridge University Press 2017) has been positively reviewed as making a ‘refreshing…significant and evidence-based contribution to academic and political debates regarding healthcare reform’ (Bowden, Medical Law Review 26(2) 2018). It was shortlisted as one of six works for the St Petersburg International Private Law Prize in 2019, a major international book prize inviting nominations from over 80 global top-ranking law schools. I have co-authored two editions of Reconstructing Criminal Law, a definitive socio-legal textbook that has disrupted the traditional approach to criminal law scholarship by critically examining the social and political context of criminalisation. I was responsible for writing 350 pages of both editions and utilised my expertise on medical crime, regulation, safety and trust.  I have published an internationally renowned programme of work on the role of law and regulation in improving patient safety. I have particular expertise on the criminalization of medical harm with an extensive publication record, including highly original and impactful empirical studies of crown prosecutors and expert witnesses. I have produced theoretically informed scholarship with highly cited publications in leading journals (Journal of Law and Society, Cambridge Law Review, Medical Law Review), essays in prestigious edited collections (OUP  & CUP), and also in high impact factor journals (British Medical Journal Quality and Safety.)  My work has made a significant contribution to improving health professional regulation, patient safety and criminal prosecution policy. I have successfully secured 13 re-search grants (9 as PI) and have two major research grants currently under review with the ESRC and the NIHR. I have cultivated strong interdisciplinary (Bioethics, Health Services Research, Medicine) and international collaborations (Canada, the USA and Singapore), and present my work at high profile international conferences.  I have also developed productive relationships with key regulators and Government agencies such as The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, The General Medical Council, The General Dental Council, NHS Resolution, the Crown Prosecution Service and have been commissioned by them to undertake research and provide expert advice. I am Co-Director of the Centre for Health, Law and Society at the University of Bristol.

Authored Books

  • Regulating Patient Safety: The End of Professional Dominance? (Cambridge University Press: 2017).
  • Reconstructing Criminal Law 4th (with N. Lacey and C. Wells) (Cambridge University Press: 2010)Re
  • constructing Criminal Law 3rd (with N. Lacey and C. Wells) (Cambridge University Press, 2003)


Academic Journal Papers (Refereed):

  • Tara Beaulieu, Rod Knight, Seonaid Nolan, Oliver Quick & Lianping Ti, ‘Artificial intelligence interventions focused on opioid use disorders: A review of the gray literature’ (2020) The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, DOI: 10.1080/00952990.2020.1817466
  • ‘The Legal Duty of Candour in Healthcare: The Lessons of History?’ Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, (2019) vol 70., pp. 77-92 (with C. Kelly)
  • ‘Clinical-insurer engagement to improve maternity safety in the UK, Ireland, Sweden and Australia.’ Journal of Patient Safety and Risk Management vol 23(2) (2018) (with T. Draycott and C. Yau)
  • ‘Leaving Patients to their own devices? Smart technology, safety and therapeutic relationships.’ BMC Medical Ethics, vol 19 (2018) (with Anita Ho).
  • Medical Manslaughter – where next? (with J. Vaughan and D. Griffiths) Royal College of Surgeons Bulletin vol 100(6) (September 2018)
  • ‘Medical Manslaughter – time for a rethink?’ Medico-Legal Journal vol 85(4) (December 2017)
  • Regulating and Legislating Safety: the Case for Candour’ British Medical Journal of Quality and Safety, (2014) Vol 23(8) pp. 614-618
  • ‘Partial Reform of Partial Defences: Developments in England and Wales’ Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, (2012) Vol 45, pp. 337-350 (with C. Wells). I was responsible for 50% of this paper.
  • ‘Patient Safety and the Problem and Potential of Law’ Journal of Professional Negligence, (2012) Vol 28, pp. 78-99.
  • ‘Expert Evidence and Medical Manslaughter: Vagueness in Action’ Journal of Law and Society, (2011) Vol 38, pp. 496 – 518.
  • ‘Medicine, Mistakes and Manslaughter: A Criminal Combination?’ Cambridge Law Journal, (2010) Vol 69, pp. 186 – 203.
  • ‘Pedagogical Promise and Problems: Teaching Public Health Law’. Public Health, (2009) Vol 123, pp. 222 – 231 (with K. Syrett).
  • ‘Frustrating Performance: Contracts and Clinical Competence in the New NHS’ Medical Law International (2006) Vol 8, pp. 79-96. (with J.P. Devenney).
  • ‘Getting Tough with Defences’ Criminal Law Review (June 2006) pp. 514-25. (with C. Wells).
  • ‘Prosecuting ‘Gross’ Medical Negligence: Manslaughter, Discretion and the Crown Prosecution Service’ Journal of Law and Society (2006) Vol 33(3) pp. 421-50.
  • ‘Outing Medical Errors: Questions of Trust and Responsibility’ Medical Law Review (2006) Vol 14(1) pp. 22
  • ‘Trust in the Context of Patient Safety’ Journal of Health Organization and Management (2006) Vol 20 (5) pp. 397-416. (with V.A. Entwistle).
  • ‘Damages for Wrongful Conception’ The Tort Law Review, (2002) Vol 10 pp. 5-10.
  • ‘Disasters: A Challenge for Law’ Washburn Law Journal (2000) Vol 39 pp101 – 129. (with C. Wells & D. Morgan).
  • ‘Disaster at Bristol: Explanations and Implications of a Tragedy’ Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law (1999) Vol 21(4) pp. 307-326.


Chapters in Edited Books:

  • ‘The Criminalisation of Medical Harm in the United Kingdom’ in P. Mistretta (ed) in French Law from a Comparative Law Perspective: for an Overhaul of Medical Criminal Law? Institut Uni Varenne (2017)
  • ‘Medical Manslaughter and Expert Evidence: the Roles of Context and Character’ in D. Griffiths and A. Sanders (eds.) Bioethics, Medicine and the Criminal Law: Medicine, Crime and Society Cambridge University Press, (2013) pp.101-116.
  • ‘Medical Killing: Need for a Specific Offence?’ in: C.M.V Clarkson, S. Cunningham (eds) Criminal Liability for Non-Aggressive Death. Ashgate, (2008) pp. 155 – 175.
  • ‘Medical Manslaughter: the Rise and Replacement of a Contested Crime’ in The Criminal Justice System and Health Care Erin and S. Ost (eds). Oxford University Press 2007 pp. 29-47.
  • ‘Criminal Appeals System of England and Wales’ in Kinzig (ed) Criminal Appeals in Europe: Freiburg: Max Planck Institute (2000) pp. 9-42 (with C. Wells). I was responsible for 50% of this report.


Official reports:


Popular/Professional Journal Papers

  • ‘Prosecuting Medical Mishaps’, New Law Journal Vol 156, No 7215 Friday 10 March 2006, p394-6.
  • ‘Medical Manslaughter: Prosecutorial discretion and the Construction of a Crime’ Socio-Legal Studies Newsletter No 48 Spring 2006.


Short works

  • ‘Crime and Violence’ in Peter Cane and Joanne Conaghan (eds). The New Oxford Companion to Law (Oxford, Oxford University Press: 2008) pp. 261-263.


Review articles

  • ‘Patient safety, Law Policy and Practice and Improving Healthcare Safety and Quality: Reluctant Regulators’ Medical Law Review, 2014 22(1) pp. 137-143.
  • ‘R v. Secretary of State for Health ex parte Wagstaff; R v. Secretary of State for Health ex parte Associated Newspapers Ltd’ Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law (2001) 23(1) pp. 79-86.
  • ‘R v. General Medical Council ex parte Toth’ Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law (2001) 23(1) pp. 87-92.


Review of Single Academic Books:

  • ‘Errors, Medicine and the Law’ Medical Law Review, 10 (2) 2002 pp. 230-238.


Other Publications:

  • Error and the Medical Profession: Regulating Trust PhD thesis, University of Wales, Cardiff, 2001 pp. 1-403.
  • 2018 – Economic and Social Research Council (Knowledge Exchange Fellow) ‘Managing Medical Manslaughter cases: Improving Efficiency and Transparency.’ £24,505.
  • 2018 – International Strategic Fund, University of Bristol ‘Designing Law and Regulation for Patient Safety.’ £3,000.
  • 2017- Policy Bristol, University of Bristol, ‘Maternity safety: influencing high level health policy makers’ (with Prof Tim Draycott, Consultant Obstetrician, Bristol) £4,000.
  • 2016 – Health Foundation. £63,000 ‘Money no one wants to pay, or receive’ exploring how closer engagement between State indemnity agencies and clinicians may help reduce the many harms of medical negligence litigation (PI Tim Draycott, Consultant Obstetrician at North Bristol NHS Trust and Professor of Medicine at Bristol.) Funding for interviews and focus groups at 6 research sites and presentation at an international symposium.
  • 2014 – British Council & British High Commission, Singapore. £2,000 UK-SE Asia Knowledge Partnership Collaborative Development Award, to collaborate with a Professor of Bioethics at the National University of Singapore (Anita Ho) into research projects about ‘Patient Safety, Technology and Participatory Medicine.’
  • 2011 – Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence. £10,000 to conduct a scoping study of the academic literature on ‘The Behavioural Effects of Regulatory Activity and Interventions on those Regulated.’
  • 2010 – Society of Legal Scholars Research Activities Fund. £1000 travel grant towards a three month research visit to Boston University.
  • 2009 – Worldwide Universities Network ‘Climate Change and Global Public Health: Law, Justice and Government.’ £4,000 funding for the inaugural event to create a research network in the field of Global Public Health Justice.
  • 2009 – Law and Policy Research Unit at the University of Bristol Law School. ‘Public Health Law and Policy: Mapping the research agenda. £3,045 funding to host a one day research workshop at the University of Bristol on the topic of ‘Public Health Law and Policy: Mapping the research agenda.
  • 2006 – Nuffield Foundation ‘The use of expert evidence in cases of medical manslaughter. I was awarded £5,000 and was the principal investigator for this project which ran from January 2007 – July 2008.
  • Invited to address the Anaesthesia section of the Royal Society of Medicine ‘Medical Manslaughter: Research and Reform?’ (October 2020).
  • Invited to address the BMA Medico-Legal Conference on ‘Expert evidence and the Law: Key Issues’ (March 2019).
  • Invited to present evidence to the Independent Review of Gross Negligence Manslaughter and Culpable Homicide (2018-19).
  • Invited speaker at the Birmingham Medico-Legal Society (January 2017) and London Medico-Legal Society (June 2017).
  • Invited speaker at the Royal College of Surgeons seminar on ‘Doctors, Manslaughter and Avoidable Harm’ (April 2015).
  • Invited to give a paper at an international conference on the ‘Historical Trends and Contemporary Challenges in the Practice of Medicine in India’, at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (January 2015)
  • Acted as external examiner at numerous UK Universities (2010-2019).
  • Invited to give a paper at the Sir Gerald Gordon Seminar at the University of Glasgow (June 2014).
  • Invited to address the Annual Conference of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division of the Crown Prosecution Service on my empirical research into Expert Evidence and Medical Manslaughter (October 2012).
  • I delivered the prestigious Baron C. Ver Heyden de Lancey Lecture on ‘Medicine, Mistakes and Manslaughter’ at Cambridge University (April 2009).
  • Member of project management board for Arts and Humanities Research Council project on the Impact of the Criminal Process on Health Care and Ethics and Practice, led by the University of Manchester and Lancaster University (2008-11).
  • ‘Criminalising Medical Error – A response to Professor Peter Skegg’ at an AHRC funded conference entitled ‘Good, Bad or Indifferent? Medicine and the Criminal Process. University of Manchester (November 2009).
  • Invited to contribute to the new edition of the Oxford Guide to the Law (2007). This serves as the most authoritative ‘lay persons’ guide to law, and being invited to contribute a chapter on ‘Crime and Violence’ is an indication of my standing in this field.
  • Invited speaker at a specialist conference on Criminal Liability for Non-Aggressive deaths at the University of Leicester. This was a high profile conference funded by the British Academy and the Society of Legal Scholars (April 2007).
  • Invited to address the Centre of Law and Society at the University of Edinburgh about my work in the field of the criminal prosecution of medical errors (February 2007)
  • Invited to deliver a lecture at the Centre for Crime and Criminal Justice at Durham University on my work on medical manslaughter prosecutions (February 2007)
  • I was invited to deliver a conference paper to a special conference looking at the relationship between the Criminal Justice System and Healthcare at the University of Manchester in May 2005.


Select Conference Contributions (not refereed)

  • ‘Will the duty of candour in healthcare work?’ US Health Law Professors Conference, Chicago June 2019.
  • ‘Medical Manslaughter: Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Issues’ Royal Society of Medicine meeting on ‘Patient Safety, Litigation against Doctors and Gross Negligence Manslaughter.’ London, April 2017.
  • ‘Money no one wants to pay or receive: incentivizing safer maternity care.’ Health Law Professors Conference, Atlanta, June 2017.
  • ‘Criminalising Medical Harm in the UK’. French Law with the Perspective of Comparative Law: For a Renovated Medical Criminal Law? Colloquium at Universite Jean Moulin 3. Lyon, April 2017.
  • ‘Leaving Patients to the own Devices? Smart technology and Regulating Safety.’ United States Health Law Professors Conference at Boston University, June 2016.
  • ‘Mobile Medical Technology and the Safety of Self-Care’ University of Leicester, June 2016.
  • ‘Regulating Patient Safety: Innovation and Participatory Medicine’. Interdisciplinary approaches to regulating innovation conference. Cardiff University, February 2015.
  • ‘Can Law Help Improve Patient Safety?’ International Conference on Historical Trends and Contemporary Challenges in the Practice of Medicine in India, Chennai, January 2015.
  • ‘Law, Ethics and the Safety of Patients’ University of Macau, China, January 2015.
  • ‘The Case for a Legal Duty of Candour in Healthcare’ 20th World Congress on Medical Law, Bali, Indonesia August 2014.
  • ‘Can Criminal Law Help Protect Patient Safety?’ 20th World Congress on Medical Law, Bali, Indonesia August 2014.
  • ‘Candour in Healthcare: Ethical and Legal issues’ Centre for Biomedical Ethics, National University of Singapore, August 2014.
  • ‘Medical Killing and Criminal Neglect’ Sir Gerald Gordon Seminar on Criminal Law, Glasgow University, June 2014.
  • ‘Candour in Healthcare – is it Safe?’ Centre for Ethics in Medicine, University of Bristol, December 2013.
  • ‘Promoting Partnership in Patient Safety – ways forward’ University of Manchester, April 2012.
  • ‘Framing Climate Change as a Public Health Problem’ Global Health Justice Network conference, University of Bristol, February 2010.
  • ‘Expert Evidence and Medical Manslaughter: Empirical Findings’ University of Edinburgh, January 2010.
  • Keynote address at an AHRC project conference on the Impact of the Criminal Process on Healthcare Ethics and Practice, University of Manchester, November 2009.
  • ‘Prosecutorial Discretion and Medical Manslaughter’ University of Edinburgh, February 2007.
  • ‘The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Teaching Public Health Law’ Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference, Durham University, September 2007.
  • ‘Medical Killing: The Case for a Special Offence’ Leicester University, April 2007.
  • ‘Criminal Prosecution of Medical Malpractice’ Centre for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, Durham University, February 2007.
  • ‘Medical Errors, Patient Safety and the Law’ University of Western Australia, May 2006.
  • ‘Patient Safety and Trust in Healthcare’ Special Conference organized by the Department of Social Medicine at the University of Bristol, September 2005.
  • ‘Criminal Prosecution of Gross Medical Negligence: a Practical Perspective’ University of Manchester, May 2005

I enjoy playing cricket, golf and rugby, and am a passionate supporter of Swansea RFC and the Welsh National rugby teams. I also have a keen interest in food, gardening, travel and comedy writing.

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