School of Law

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Professor Michael Thomson's Publications


  • Fineman PMA, thomson M, Exploring Masculinities Feminist Legal Theory Reflections (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2013)

    Written by leading experts in the area, this volume investigates the ways in which emerging masculinities theory in law could inform feminist legal theory in particular and law in general.

  • Thomson M, Endowed: Regulating the Male Sexed Body (New York: Routledge, 2008)

    Acknowledging this work and building upon it, Endowed considers the interaction of law and ideas of male reproductivity.

  • Thomson M, Reproducing Narrative Gender, Reproduction, and Law (Dartmouth Publishing Company, 1998)

    Reproducing Narrative interrogates medico-legal reproductive discourses in their broader social, political, economic and gendered discourses.

  • Sheldon S, Thomson M, Feminist Perspectives on Health Care Law (Routledge, 1998)

Journal articles

  • Fox M, Thomson M, ‘Bodily Integrity, Embodiment and the Regulation of Parental Choice’, Journal of Law and Society, 44.4 (2017), 501-531
    DOI: 10.1111/jols.12056, Repository URL:

    In this article we develop a new model of bodily integrity that we designate ‘embodied integrity’. We deploy it to argue that non-therapeutic interventions on children should be considered within a decision-making framework that prioritizes embodied integrity. This would counter the excessive decision-making power that law currently accords to parents, protecting the child's immediate and future interests. Focusing on legal responses to genital cutting, we suggest that current legal understandings of bodily integrity are impoverished and problematic. By contrast, adoption of an ‘embodied integrity’ model carves out a space for children's rights, while avoiding these negative consequences. We propose that embodied integrity should trump competing values in any best-interests assessment where a non-therapeutic intervention is requested. Drawing on Drucilla Cornell and Joel Feinberg's theories we argue that protecting a child's embodied integrity is essential to guarantee his/her right to make future embodied choices and become a fully individuated person.

  • Earp BD, Hendry J, Thomson M, ‘Reason and Paradox in Medical and Family Law: Shaping Children’s Bodies’, Medical Law Review, 25.4 (2017), 604-627
    DOI: 10.1093/medlaw/fwx027, Repository URL:

    Legal outcomes often depend on the adjudication of what may appear to be straightforward distinctions. In this article, we consider two such distinctions that appear in medical and family law deliberations: the distinction between religion and culture and between therapeutic and non-therapeutic. These distinctions can impact what constitutes ‘reasonable parenting’ or a child’s ‘best interests’ and thus the limitations that may be placed on parental actions. Such distinctions are often imagined to be asocial facts, there for the judge to discover. We challenge this view, however, by examining the controversial case of B and G [2015]. In this case, Sir James Munby stated that the cutting of both male and female children’s genitals for non-therapeutic reasons constituted ‘significant harm’ for the purposes of the Children Act 1989. He went on to conclude, however, that while it can never be reasonable parenting to inflict any form of non-therapeutic genital cutting on a female child, such cutting on male children was currently tolerated. We argue that the distinctions between religion/culture and therapeutic/non-therapeutic upon which Munby LJ relied in making this judgement cannot in fact ground categorically differential legal treatment of female and male children. We analyse these distinctions from a systems theoretical perspective—specifically with reference to local paradoxes—to call into question the current legal position. Our analysis suggests that conventional distinctions drawn between religion/culture and the therapeutic/non-therapeutic in other legal contexts require much greater scrutiny than they are usually afforded.

  • McGuinness S, Thomson M, ‘Medicine and abortion law: complicating the reforming profession’, Medical Law Review, 23.2 (2015), 177-199
    DOI: 10.1093/medlaw/fwv012

    Author URL []

    The complicated intra-professional rivalries that have contributed to the current contours of abortion law and service provision have been subject to limited academic engagement. In this article, we address this gap. We examine how the competing interests of different specialisms played out in abortion law reform from the early twentieth-century, through to the enactment of the Abortion Act 1967, and the formation of the structures of abortion provision in the early 1970s. We demonstrate how professional interests significantly shaped the landscape of abortion law in England, Scotland, and Wales. Our analysis addresses two distinct and yet related fields where professional interests were negotiated or asserted in the journey to law reform. Both debates align with earlier analysis that has linked abortion law reform with the market development of the medical profession. We argue that these two axes of debate, both dominated by professional interests, interacted to help shape law's treatment of abortion, and continue to influence the provision of abortion services today.

  • Thomson M, Fox M, ‘Realising social Justice in public health law’, Medical Law Review 2013, 278-309

  • Thomson M, ‘Abortion Law and Professional Boundaries’, Social and Legal Studies: an international journal 2013, 191-210

  • Thomson M, Fox M, ‘The changing politics of circumcision: HIV/AIDS, public health and social justice’, Legal Studies 2012, 255-281

  • Thomson M, ‘Foreskin is a feminist issue’, Australian Feminist Studies 2009, 195-210

  • Thomson M, ‘Older minors and circumcision: Questioning the limits of religious actions’, Medical Law International 2008, 283-311


  • Thomson M, Fox M, ‘Sexing the cherry: fixing masculinity’, in Queer(ing) Somatechnics: Critical Engagements with Bodily (Trans) Formations, ed. by Sullivan N and Murray S (Ashgate, 2009), 107-126

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