Academic Staff

Professor Sabine Michalowski First and Second Legal State Exam (Germany), Diploma in Comparative Law (Paris II), PhD (Sheffield)

Position in departmentDeputy Head of School - Research, Director of Research
Staff positionProfessor
Telephone01206 872862
Office hoursAcademic Support: Summer Term - By appointment only. Please email to make an appointment

Sabine Michalowski joined the School in January 2000, having previously been a lecturer in law at the University of Sheffield from 1994 to 1999. She is the director of the Essex Transitional Justice Network, chairs the ETJN's research area economic dimensions of transitional justice, and she is also a member of the Human Rights Centre. Sabine graduated from Hamburg, qualified as a lawyer in Berlin, and holds a Diploma in Comparative Law awarded by the University of Paris II and a PhD from Sheffield.

Current research

One of Sabine’s ongoing research interests is end-of-life decision-making, in particular the controversial issue of assisted dying. She is currently exploring the human rights implications of the partial legalisation of assisted dying.

As a member of the Essex Autonomy Project, she has recently been working on an AHRC funded project on the compatibility of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The project involved a series of public policy roundtables, hosted by the Ministry of Justice, and a one-day public conference at the Institute for Government in July 2014. In September 2014 it resulted in the submission of a position paper to the Ministry of Justice.

Sabine is also working on corporate complicity in human rights violations, in particular the question of how liability standards can be determined in cases where ordinary business activities, rather than acts that are unlawful in and of themselves, assist third parties, for examples governments, in the commission of gross human rights violations.

Research interests
  • Medical Law, in particular end-of-life issues, patient autonomy, capacity 
  • Business and human rights, in particular corporate complicity in human rights violations
  • Transitional Justice. in particular economic and social dimensions of transitional justice, and the linkages between transitional justice and corporate accountability
  • Health Care Law and Human Rights
Teaching responsibilities

LW104 - Criminal Law

LW232 - Medicine and the Law 1

LW233 - Medicine and the Law 2

LW451 - International Business Law


• Unconstitutional Regimes and the Validity of Sovereign Debt: A Legal Perspective, Ashgate, 2007
• Medical Confidentiality and Crime, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2003
• German Constitutional Law - The Protection of Civil Liberties, Ashgate, Aldershot 1999, (co-author: Lorna Woods, Sheffield)
Edited books:
• Corporate Accountability in the Context of Transitional Justice, Routledge 2013
• ‘The mens rea standard for corporate aiding and abetting liability – conclusions from international criminal law’, 18 UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs, 2014, 237-274
• ‘Relying on Common law Defences to Legalise Assisted Dying: Problems and Possibilities’, (2013) 21 Medical Law Review 337-370
• ‘No Complicity Liability for Funding Gross Human Rights Violations?’ 30 Berkeley Journal of International Law 451-524 (2012)
• 'Ius Cogens, Transitional Justice, and Other Trends of the Debate on Odious Debts:A Response to the World Bank Discussion Paper on Odious Debts', 48(1) Columbia Journal of Transnational Law,2009, 61-120 (co-author: Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky)
• 'Trazando paralelos entre la responsabilidad de bancos por complicidad y las deudas odiosas', `(2009) Revista Juridica de la Universidad de Palermo 279-288
• 'Legalising active voluntary euthanasia through the courts - some lessons from Colombia', (2009) 17 Medical Law Review 183-218
• ‘El estado de necesidad como defensa contra el pago de la deuda externa’ (Necessity as a defence against the repayment of sovereign debt), Jurisprudencia Argentina, 28 November 2007, pp.3-22
• ‘Sovereign Debt and Social Rights-Legal Reflections on a Difficult Relationship’ (2008) 8 Human Rights Law Review 35-68
• 'Trial and error at the end of life – no harm done?’ (2007) 27 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 257-280
• 'Advance Refusals of Life-Sustaining Medical Treatment: the Relativity of an absolute Right', (2005) 68 Modern Law Review 958-982
• 'Sanctity of life – are some lives more sacred than others?', (2002) 22 Legal Studies 377-397
• 'Reversal of fortune - Re A (Conjoined Twins) and beyond: Who should make treatment decisions on behalf of young children?' (2001) 9 Health Law Journal 149-169
• 'Schutz der Vertraulichkeit strafrechtlich relevanter Patienteninformationen', (1997) 109 Zeitschrift für das gesamte Strafrecht 519-544
• 'Court-Authorised Caesarean Sections - The End of a Trend? - Re MB (An Adult: Medical Treatment) (1997) 2 F.C.R. 541 (CA)', (1999) 62 Modern Law Review 115-127
Chapters in Books:
• ‘Article 3 - Right to the integrity of the person’, in: Steve Peers, Tamara Hervey, Jeff Kenner, and Angela Ward (eds), Commentary on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, Hart Publishing 2014
• ‘Due Diligence and Complicity – A Relationship in Need of Clarification’, in: D. Bilchitz & S. Deva (eds.), Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect? CUP Cambridge 2013, pp.218-242
• ‘El rol del consentimiento informado en la discusión de la legalización de eutanasia activa’ (The role of informed consent in the discussion on the legalisation of euthanasia), in: Buerga Mendoza, Blanca (ed.), Autonomia Personal y Decisiones Medicas (Civitas, Thomson Reuters: Navarra 2010), 255-277
• 'Repayment of sovereign debts from a legal perspective – the example of Argentina', in: Human Rights and Capitalism, Janet Dine and Andrew Fagan (eds.), Edward Elgar Publishing 2006, pp. 303-329
• 'Human rights in times of economic crises: the example of Argentina', in: Global Governance and the Search for Justice, Volume 4: Human Rights, Roger Brownsword (ed.), Hart Publishing, Oxford 2004, pp.33-51

Additional information

Sabine would invite PhD applications in the areas of medical law, corporate complicity and economic dimensions of transitional justice.

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