Ewch i’r prif gynnwys

Yr Athro John Harrington

Professor of Law

+44(0)29 2087 4098
2.09, Adeilad y Gyfraith, Rhodfa'r Amgueddfa, Caerdydd, CF10 3AX


John Harrington is Professor of Global Health Law at Cardiff School of Law and Politics.


John Harrington is Professor of Global Health Law and Director of Research in the School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University.

He holds degrees in law from Trinity College, Dublin (LL.B.) and Oxford University (BCL).

Before moving to Cardiff he held appointments as Professor of Law, University of Liverpool (2004-14), Lecturer in Law, Warwick University (1994-2004) and Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Law at the Free University of Berlin (1992-4).

He was director of Liverpool University’s Institute of Medicine Law and Bioethics (2006-10), a Global Visiting Scholar in the Faculty of Law, University of Melbourne (2006) and a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy (2001-2). He has also held research fellowships at the Universities of Dar es Salaam and Cape Town, at the Wissenschaftszentrum fuer Sozialforschung (WZB) in Berlin and the Institute of Health, Warwick University.

Most recently he was Senior Research Fellow at the British Institute in Eastern Africa and a Visiting Researcher at the African Population and Health Research Centre, both Nairobi (2010-14).

He speaks English, Irish and German (fluent), Italian, French and Kiswahili (intermediate) and Welsh (beginner).

Ymrwymiadau siarad cyhoeddus

April 2016 The Dar-Warwick Connection: Writing the History of Legal Education in East Africa and the UK Beyond Development? New Imaginaries in Law and Social Justice, 40th Anniversary Conference, Warwick Law School, University of Warwick
April 2016 Towards a Critical Global Health Law: A Chronotopical View From Kenya Beyond Development? New Imaginaries in Law and Social Justice, 40th Anniversary Conference, Warwick Law School, University of Warwick
April 2016 Modernizing Traditional Medicine in Kenya: Legal Perspectives Cultural Rights in Action: From Global Policy to Local Practice – Workshop of the ESRC Katiba Cultural Rights Project, British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi
April 2016 Health, Global Justice and the Well Being of Future Generations Act (2015) Implementing the Well-Being and Future Generations Act and Environment Act, Llywodraeth Cymru, Caerdydd - Welsh Government, Cardiff
January 2016 Time and Global Health Law Regulating Time - Workshop of the Time, Regulation and the Technosciences and AHRC Research Network, University of York
December 2015 Regulating for Health: The (Continuing) Importance of the National in the Global Regulating the Global Economy Drivers, Parameters of Legitimacy and Social Justice, and Modalities, Centre for Global Legal Priorities, Swansea University
November 2015 Intellectual Property, Health and Development in Kenya IP and the Life Sciences, Law Faculty, University of Basel
November 2015 Globalization and Health Law in Kenya: A Critical Survey Research Seminar, Institut für Voelkerrecht und Ausländisches Verfassungsrecht, University of Zürich
June 2015 Terror and Transfusion: The Meanings of Donation in Kenya Dreaming of Health and Science in Africa: Aesthetics, Affects, Poetics and Politics, Wellcome Centre, Hinxton, Cambridge
April 2015 Time and Space in Medical Law Workshop on Mariana Valverde's 'Chronotopes of Law' , School of Law, Queen Mary, University of London
February 2015 Blood Donation and State Making in Kenya Workshop on Africa and International Justice, Centre for African Studies and Centre Law and Social Justice, Unversity of Leeds
February 2015 Response to Professor Dainius Puras, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health Public Lecture on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur, Centre for Law and Social Justice, University of Leeds
December 2014 National Development and the Meanings of Blood Donation Deconstructing Donation Conference, Lancaster University
September 2014 Commentary on Bolitho v City and Hackney Health Authority (1997) Ethical Judgments in Medical Law Workshop, University of Birmingham
September 2014 Restoring Leviathan? The Kenyan Supreme Court, Constitutional Transformation and the Presidential Election 2013 African Studies Association UK, Biennial Conference, Sussex University
September 2014 Staging the Nation: Terror, Ethnicity and Blood Donation in Kenya African Studies Association UK, Biennial Conference, Sussex University
June 2014 Nationalism, Law Reform and Health in Kenya Staff Seminar, Faculty of Law, Tilburg University, the Netherlands
March 2014 Disputing the Presidential Election of 2013: Implications for Kenyan Constitutionalism Staff Seminar, Birkbeck College, Law School, London
February 2014 Debating Access to Medicines in Kenya: 2001-8 Seminar Series on Health, Ethics and Human Rights, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
January 2014 Fakes, Patents and Essential Medicines: Law Reform and Lobbying in East Africa Annual Lecture of the Commonwealth Society, Cambridge University
January 2014 Taming the Kenyan Leviathan? The Supreme Court and the Presidential Election 2013 Staff Seminar, Centre for African Studies, Cambridge University
October 2013 Emerging Powers and Health in Kenya: the South African Connection Emerging Powers Going Global Conference, British Academy, London
September 2013 Satire and the Politics of Corruption in Kenya Kenya at 50 Conference, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC
May 2013 The Place of the Nation in Global Health Law Staff Seminar , Centre for Health Law, University of Birmingham
March 2013 Rhetoric and the Making of Global Health Law: Access to Essential Medicines in Kenya Workshop on Global Health Law, British Institute for International and Comparative Law, London
December 2012 Carework, Health and Human Rights: A Contextual and Constitutional Review of Kenya’s Breastmilk Substitutes (Regulation and Control) Act 2012 Joint Seminar of Irish Centre for Human Rights and Irish Forum on Global Health,  National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
November 2012 Prospects for the Right to Health in Kenya Prospects for the Right to Health in Eastern Africa Conference,  British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi
October 2012 Access to Medicines and Anti-Counterfeiting in Kenya Policy Briefing Seminar, African Population and Health Research Centre, Nairobi
September 2012 Of Paradox and Plausibility: The Dynamic of Change in Medical Law Workshop on Polyphonic Health Care, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen
July 2012 The Struggle for the Right to Health in Kenya Law and Global Health - Current Legal Issues Conference, University College London
























John Harrington's teaching is strongly informed by his research. He has pioneered the teaching of Global Health Law at masters level in the UK and as a Global Visting Scholar at the University of Melbourne Australia. He designed and delivered health and human rights training as part of the collaborative PhD program in population and public health of the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA).

At undergraduate level his module on Jurisprudence balances orthodox thought with critical and globally focussed approaches.

He introduced the first Law and Literature module at Cardiff. That module has a strong emphasis on cultural and literary production. In its first year students shadowed the development of a local production of Brian Friel's play Translations. They engaged the director and cast in considering the specific issues of law and state power raised by the play.

He has supervised doctoral theses in the areas of law and literature, medical law and global health law. He welcomes inquiries from potential supervisees in his areas of research interest.

John is developing, with Professor Julie Price of Cardiff School of Law and Politics Law Clinic, a student pro-bono programme on global justice. This will see Cardiff students working with lawyers at the firm Deighton Pierce Glynn (London and Bristol) on cases concerning accountability for human rights violations in developing countries. The programme is being developed in collaboration with the Hingorani Foundation, New Delhi which is dedicated to promoting student involvement in public interest litigation internationally.

John Harrington's research has been supported by the:

Aurelius Trust (Award for Constitution of Kenya Reform Commission Archiving Project)

Economic and Social Research Council (Seminar Series Award)

Arts and Humanities Research Council (Research Leave Fellowship)

European University Institute (Jean Monnet Fellowship)

Nuffield Foundation (Social Science Grant).

John Harrington's work can be grouped under three main themes:

1  Towards a Rhetoric of Medical Law

This project has developed a wholly innovative account of medical law as a rhetorical practice. Though a close reading of British case law, legislative debates and academic interventions across a range of substantive topics it defends the view that argumentation in medical law is always a matter of establishing the plausibility of particular legal outcomes within concrete social and political contexts.

The analysis is built on a combination of apporaches from rhetorical and cultural theory, law and literature, critical legal studies and Marxian political economy. As such it challenges the well established view that medical law is a subset of human rights law, or of bioethics, approaches which tend to abstract the development of the discipline from broader cultural, institutional and political changes.

It argues that medical law has been marked by a set of common sense assumptions (or 'topics') about the nature of medical work and the place of doctors and the National Health Service in the economy and society of post-war Britain. It tracks the rise and decline in plausibility of these topics relating this to changes in the structure of health care delivery and broader developments in British political economy.

This work was supported by a Research Leave Fellowship of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and papers from it have already appeared in the Medical Law Review, Legal Studies, Social and Legal Studies and the International Journal of Law in Context. A monograph entitled Toward a Rhetoric of Medical Law will be published by Routledge in 2016.

2  Global Health Law - National Contexts

This work in progress extends the critical and rhetorical methods outlined above in examining the process by which global health standards and norms are implemented, transformed and resisted in national jurisdictions, with a particular focus on East Africa.

The last decade and a half has seen a huge increase in regulatory activity in relation to health at international and regional levels. These developments are reflected in the emergence of global health law as an area of academic study. Less attention, however, has been paid to the impact of these new health-related regimes on national legal systems, and in particular on the processes by which they are received into developing country jurisdictions.

The project takes up this challenge, focussing on a number of subtanative areas of health policy reform in Kenya and drawing on extensive interviews with key policy makers, civil society groups, industry and the judiciary, as well as archival and other documentary sources, and primary legal materials.

It pays particular attention to the 'national' as ane enduring frame for debate about the legislative reform, litigation strategies, popular campaigning and lobbying work around global health issues. Early findings indicate the continued salience of 'national development' and the idiom of anti-colonial resistance in these reform processes.

Work on this project has been supported by the British Institute in Eastern Africa and papers have already appeared in the Journal of World Intellectual Property Law, Current Legal Issues and in the Routledge Handbook on Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

3  Legal Education in Britain and Africa: Mobility and Modernity

The project examines links between legal education in newly independent African states and the rise of the Law in Context movement in Britain from the mid-1960s. It is being developed with Professor Ambreena Manji of Cardiff School of Law and Politics and builds on earlier work supported by an award from the Nuffield Trust and published in the Journal of Law and Society and African Affairs.

It follows the careers of a number of legal academics from the UK who took up their first teaching posts in newly founded African law schools in the 1960s. These young scholars returned to the UK to play a significant part in the founding of a 'radical generation' of law schools, including Warwick, Kent and Cardiff.

In teaching and scholarship they sought to breakwith the 'blackletter' doctrinal outlook associated predominantly with Oxford and Cambridge.

The project will locate the work of these scholars with reference to trends in the Anglo-American legal academy, and set their innovations, ideals and mentalities in the context of decolonization and post-war change in Britain and its African colonies.

A paper on the crisis in the Law School at the University of Ghana in the early 1960s is currently under preparation; and a developmental workshop on the project will be hosted by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London, with the support of the Legal Education Research Network in December 2015.

4 Other Work

John Harrington's work on governance and constitutionalism in Kenya is also taken up in two recent papers - both with Manji - in the Journal of Eastern African Studies (on the Presidential election petition of 2013) and Social and Legal Studies (on anti-corruption governance).

He has also edited three collections in the broader area of global health law: Global Governance of HIV/ AIDS: Intellectual Property and Access to Essential Medicines (with Aginam and Yu) and Global Health and Human Rights: Legal and Philosophical Perspectives (with Stuttaford) and a special issue of Social Science and Medicine (with Stuttaford and Hundt).