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Research Interests
Law and Religion, Public Law, Human Rights and Discrimination Law, Medical Law and Anthropology, specifically Organ Donation and Transplantation

Research Areas
UK and Europe

Profile

Dr. Farrah Raza, Stipendiary Lecturer in Public Law at Pembroke College, University of Oxford, was selected for the Minerva Fast Track Program in January 2020. Dr. Raza will lead the Minerva Research Group entitled “The Ethics of Exchange: the Regulation of Organ Donation and Transplantation” at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Department of Law and Anthropology, in Halle (Saale), Germany, beginning in September 2020.

Farrah holds a PhD from King's College London (KCL), which was fully funded by the Centre of European Law at KCL. She holds a LL.B. from KCL (first class honours) and an LL.M. from the University of Cambridge. Farrah has seven years of teaching experience. She tutored Constitutional Law and Administrative Law at Pembroke College where she also participated in the law admissions process. She was previously a Senior Teaching Fellow in Public Law at the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, where she delivered the lectures on the Human Rights Act 1998. Farrah also taught on the Public Law and Anti-Discrimination Law courses at KCL. 

She is currently working on two large projects. The first project involves working on a monograph on religious accommodation with Hart Publishing. Her second project is to lead the Minerva Research Group on the ethics of organ donation and transplantation.

Minerva Research Group: The Ethics of Exchange: the Regulation of Organ Donation and Transplantation

The ethics of organ donation and transplantation is a live issue globally and is linked to a number of complex medical, legal and regulatory questions. Calls for legal reform in organ donation and transplantation in a number of jurisdictions, including in the UK and Germany, have resulted in different policy options. The UK recently adopted an ‘opt-out’ system whereby individuals are deemed to consent to donation upon death unless there is an explicit objection or statutory exemption that applies. This shift in the law raises important questions about notions of consent in the medical context. In particular, attention needs to be paid to the ways in which different actors contribute to and influence the various decision-making processes. While the law provides an over-arching framework, a greater insight into how discretion is exercised in decisions about patient consent and autonomy, organ optimisation and resource allocation can reveal how different layers of decision-making intermesh within the clinical setting. Moreover, the religious and cultural beliefs of patients and their families are relevant factors to be considered both from an ethical and clinical viewpoint. This project will fill in a gap in the scholarship by conducting a novel study of hospital and ethics committees and clinical decision-making processes by carrying out an investigation of the middle layers of decision-making that occupy the space between the law and a patient’s rights, where policies, discretion and specific cases are decided upon. In order to capture the complexity of how the law is negotiated and translated into practice at the various levels of regulation, this project will consist of two key workstreams.

Workstream 1: The Procedures and Substance of Hospital Ethics Committees and decision-making in Organ Donation and Transplantation 

This work stream will assess how ethical frameworks are devised and applied in specialist hospitals for different categories of cases, and accordingly, uncover which ethical norms and practices emerge, particularly in relation to the procedural and normative dimensions of consent in practice.

Workstream 2: Religion, Culture and Minority Rights in Organ Donation and Transplantation 

Given the specific challenges that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups face, such as a higher need for organ transplants, there is a need to better understand how religious and cultural diversity is accommodated in clinical decision-making.

The study seeks to make an original contribution both empirically and normatively by investigating how the law’s boundaries are negotiated in decision-making processes in organ donation and transplantation in two jurisdictions with different regulatory systems. These questions have become even more pertinent in light of an increasing number of people living with co-morbidities and the coronavirus pandemic, which highlights the vulnerabilities of patients in need of organs.

 

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