Dr Katherine Wade

Lecturer in Law

School/Department: Law, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2368



I joined Leicester Law School in September 2017. I hold a BCL from the National University of Ireland Galway and an LLM and PhD from University College Cork. Prior to my appointment I was a post-doctoral research associate at the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics at King’s College London where I worked on a Wellcome Trust project entitled “The Donation and Transfer of Human Reproductive Materials”.

My research is at the intersection of children's rights and medical law. I am interested in how the law can protect the interests of children in different contexts with a particular focus on assisted reproduction. I am currently working on the protection of children's rights in surrogacy law with a focus on current law reform initiatives. I have published in leading journals such as the Medical Law Review and the Child and Family Law Quarterly. I was a visiting scholar at the Brocher Foundation Geneva St Louis Law School and Emory Law School. In 2014 I was a Yale-Hastings Visiting Researcher. I have also been invited as an expert to conferences on children’s rights at the Council of Europe in 2015 and 2016 and at the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2019. I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


I am interested in doing impactful research and have consulted with the Law Commission of England and Wales on their current surrogacy project and the Irish government on the regulation of assisted reproduction, and I am also part of the Family Law Reform Now Network. I have presented work on the child’s right to identity before the Committee on the Rights of the Child at the Office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Current Projects:

I am Principal Investigator on a project called “Children’s Voices in Surrogacy Law” which is funded by the Institute of Medical Ethics (£9937) and a Research England participatory research grant (£12,000) (with co-investigators Dr Kirsty Horsey and Dr Zaina Mahmoud). The aim of this research is to gather and analyse the views of children born through surrogacy on surrogacy law reform. We will host a “Young Person’s Panel” with children aged 16 and 17, a “Digital Wall” of artwork at a forthcoming conference, and will conduct a series of focus groups with children and young people.

I am currently working on a project called Future Directions in Surrogacy Law supported by the Society of Legal Scholars (£3770) with Dr Kirsty Horsey and Ms Zaina Mahmoud which is concerned with gathering interdisciplinary responses to the upcoming Law Commission Report on Surrogacy in 2022.

I am collaborating with Dr Alan Brown (University of Glasgow) on a book chapter called “Identity Rights and New Assisted Reproductive Technologies” for a forthcoming book with Hart based on our submissions to the Law Commission’s 14th Programme of Law Reform Academic Conference and the Family Law Reform Now conference in 2021.

I am collaborating with Dr Emma Nottingham (University of Winchester) on an article called "Fertility Preservation for Children with Cancer: Legal and Ethical Issues". This is based on an inter-disciplinary conference  hosted by the University of Maynooth and the Irish Cancer Society.



A. Brown and K. Wade, The Incoherent Role of the Child’s Identity in the Construction and Allocation of Legal ParenthoodLegal Studies, forthcoming.

K. Wade, 'Reconceptualising the Interest in Knowing One's Origins: A Case for Mandatory Disclosure' (2020) 28(4) Medical Law Review 731.

U. Kilkelly and K. Wade, 'Children's Health Rights in a European Legal Context' in J. Dorscheidt and J. Hubben, eds., Children's Rights in Health Care (Boston: Brill, 2018).

K. Wade, 'The Legal Regulation of Surrogacy in the UK: A Children's Rights Perspective' (2017) 29(2) Child and Family Law Quarterly 113-131.  

K. Wade, 'Caesarean Section Refusal in the Irish Courts: HSE v B and Baby B' (2017) 25(3) Medical Law Review 494-504.

K. Wade, 'Defining the Threshold of Permissible Risk for Non-Therapeutic Clinical Trials with Children in Europe' (2017) 24 European Journal of Health Law 1-18.  

K. Wade, 'Governance of Research Ethics Committee in Ireland: Reform and Recommendations' (2016) 22(1) Medico-Legal Journal of Ireland 18-28.

K. Wade, 'Children in Clinical Trials in Ireland: Addressing the Gaps in the Regulatory Framework' in M. Donnelly and C. Murray, eds., Ethical and Legal Debates in Irish Healthcare: Confronting Complexities (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016) 163-176.

K Wade, 'Refusal of Emergency Caesarean Section in Ireland: A Relational Approach' (2014) 22(1) Medical Law Review 1-25.

K. Wade and A. Antonmaria, 'Inducing HIV Remission in Neonates: Child Rights and Research Ethics' (2016) 58(3) Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 348-354.



I am interested in supervising students in the areas of medical law family law bioethics and research ethics with a particular interest in children's rights in medical law and bioethics and assisted reproduction.


Medical law (Module Leader),


Family Law,

Autonomy, Capacity and Consent (LLM)

LLM Study Skills.

Press and media

I would happy to be contacted about legal developments in assisted reproduction, such as surrogacy or medical issues affecting children. 
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