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Dr Carolyn Johnston

Senior law lecturer, Kingston University.

Dr  Carolyn  Johnston Areas of expertise

Find out more about Dr Carolyn Johnston


Carolyn Johnston is a qualified solicitor and senior lecturer at Kingston University teaching medical law and ethics. She has an MA in Medical Ethics and Law from King's College, London and has published on a variety of medical law and ethics topics. In addition she is co-author of "100 Cases in Clinical Ethics and Law" (2008, Hodder Arnold). In brief, the book presents 100 ethical and legal scenarios commonly encountered by medical students and healthcare professionals. It explores typical dilemmas involving issues such as consent, capacity, withdrawal of treatment and confidentiality. 

Between 2002 and 2005 she worked at the Ethox Centre, University of Oxford, as Project Officer for the UK Clinical Ethics Network, which was set up in 2001 to promote the development of clinical ethics support in the UK, to encourage a high level of ethical debate in clinical practice and to facilitate the sharing of information on ethics in practice. She is currently a member of three clinical ethics committees/groups. In addition she has also worked freelance as joint project manager for the Institute of Medical Ethics on the Teaching, Learning and Assessment of Medical Ethics and Law in the UK Medical Schools Project (

She is co-author of 'Medical ethics and law for doctors of tomorrow: the 1998 Consensus Statement updated' (2010) and an independent assessor for the Human Tissue Authority.



Year gained Subject
2011 PhD: Divergence in healthcare decision making - seeking a consensus on the meaning and application of 'best interests'.
1997 MA in Medical Ethics and Law, King's College, London.
1988 LLM (2.1), Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge.
1983 Solicitors' Final Examination, The College of Law, Guildford.
1982 LLB (2.1), Kingston upon Thames Polytechnic.

Career Highlights

Year Position held
2005 - Adviser in Medical Law and Ethics, King's College London, School of Medicine.
2002 - 2005 Project officer, UK Clinical Ethics Network.
1992 - Senior lecturer in medical law and ethics, Kingston University.


Stirrat, G.M., Johnston, Carolyn, Gillon, R. and Boyd, K. (2010) Medical ethics and law for doctors of tomorrow: the 1998 Consensus Statement updated. Journal of Medical Ethics, 36(1), pp. 55-60. ISSN (print) 0306-6800

Johnston, Carolyn (2010) Online survey of the perceived need for ethics support in a large NHS Foundation Trust. Clinical Ethics, 5(4), pp. 201-206. ISSN (print) 1477-7509

Johnston, Carolyn (2009) Overriding competent medical treatment refusal by adolescents: when "no" means "no". Archives of Disease in Childhood, 94(7), pp. 487-491. ISSN (print) 0003-9888

Johnston, Carolyn and Haughton, Peter (2007) Medical students' perceptions of their ethics teaching. Journal of Medical Ethics, 33(7), pp. 418-422. ISSN (print) 0306-6800

Johnston, Carolyn (2007) The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and advance decisions. Clinical Ethics, 2(2), pp. 80-84. ISSN (print) 1477-7509

Johnston, Carolyn and Liddle, Jane (2007) The Mental Capacity Act 2005: a new framework for healthcare decision making. Journal of Medical Ethics, 33(2), pp. 94-97. ISSN (print) 0306-6800

Johnston, Carolyn and Holt, Genevieve (2006) The legal and ethical implications of therapeutic privilege - is it ever justified to withhold treatment information from a competent patient? Clinical Ethics, 1(3), pp. 146-151. ISSN (print) 1477-7509

Johnston, Carolyn (2005) Does the statutory regulation of advance decision-making provide adequate respect for patient autonomy? Liverpool Law Review, 26(2), pp. 189-203. ISSN (print) 0144-932X

Johnston, Carolyn (2005) End-of-life decisions. New Law Journal, 155(7174), pp. 666-668. ISSN (print) 0306-6479

Slowther, Anne, Johnston, Carolyn, Goodall, Jane and Hope, Tony (2004) Development of clinical ethics committees. British Medical Journal, 328(7445), pp. 950-952. ISSN (print) 0959-535X

Johnston, Carolyn and Kaye, Jane (2004) Does the UK Biobank have a legal obligation to feedback individual findings to participants? Medical Law Review, 12(3), pp. 239-267. ISSN (print) 0967-0742

Johnston, Carolyn (2002) Parental autonomy and immunisation: a true choice? Bulletin of Medical Ethics(175), pp. 13-18. ISSN (print) 0962-9564

Media Highlights

BBC Radio Four, 'Inside the Ethics Committee' - panel presenter, May 2005.

Conference Highlights

Carolyn has presented on medical law and ethics at conferences around the world.

Academic Accolades

Promising Researcher - HEFCE Promising Researcher Fellowship Scheme 2005.

King's College London, College Teaching Fund Award, 'Using filmed vignettes to teach and assess ethics and professionalism' (2011).

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us