Bernadette Richards

Dr Bernadette Richards

Associate Professor

Adelaide Law School

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Teaches Medical Law and Ethics, Bioethics and Tort Law.

Active researcher in medical law and bioethics and has completed major projects on organ donation, consent to treatment and legal issues around innovative surgery. Chief Investigator, NHMRC Partnership Grant, "Strategies for the inclusion of vulnerable populations in developing complex and sensitive public policy: A case study in Advance Care Planning."

I have worked at the  University of Adelaide for a number of years and my research focus is in the area of  medical law and ethics and my work  sits at the nexus of ethics and the law in the context of medical treatment, with a particular emphasis on consent to medical treatment. I am currently exploring issues around Advance Care Planning, access to innovative treatment , the role of AI in diagnosis and role of medical device representatives in surgery. 

My Ph.D challenged the existing legal framework around 'consent' to medical treatment (commonly referred to as informed consent). The thesis is entitled: Informed Choice not Informed Consent: Towards a meaningful consideration of pre-treatment advice).

I am  currently an Adjunct Assoc Professor of the Australian Centre for Health Law Research, QUT Law School,  I am also a member of the NHMRC Embryo Research Licencing Committee, the Australian Health Ethics Committee and in 2019, Chaired the Expert Reference Group for the review of Mitchondrial Donation (an NHMRC appointed committee) .


  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    1999 - ongoing Associate Professor The University of Adelaide
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    The University of Adelaide Australia Ph.D
    James Cook University Australia LLB (Hons)
    University of New England Australia B.A.
    University of New England Australia Dip. Ed
  • Research Interests

Chief Investigator, NHMRC Ideas Grant, 'The algorithm will see you now: ethical, legal and social implications of adopting machine learning systems for diagnosis and screening' APP1181960, 2020 - 

Chief Investigator, Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, 'Support or Sales? Medical Device Representatives in Australian Hospitals' DP200100883, 2020 - 

Chief Investigator, NHMRC Partnership Grant:  Investigating the inclusion of vulnerable populations in Advance Care Planning: Developing complex and sensitive public policy, APP1133407 Partnership Project. 2017 - 

Chief Investigator, Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, "On the cutting edge: promoting best practice in surgical innovation" (INCISIVE: Interdisciplinary Collaboration Investigating surgical Innovation and Ethics), 2014 -

Chief Investigator, Australian Research Discovery Grant, “Consent in the void: moral, legal and community values in decisions before birth and after death.” 2006-2009.

Adviser, ARC Linkage Grant: Can and should we link data at a national level? Vaccine safetysurveillance: A case study Approved: Primary RFCD 3212 PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES

I teach Tort Law and Medical Law and Ethics in the Law School.  I also introduce the law to medical students. 

  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2017 - 2022 Principal Supervisor Meaningful protection or unacceptable risk? A critical analysis of undue influence as a safeguard in proposed voluntary assisted dying legislation in South Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Michaela Estelle Okninski
    2015 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Increasing the Participation of Persons with Mental Illness in Mental Health Treatment Decision-Making Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Susan Elizabeth Peukert
    2013 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Geographical Indications: What is their Worth? A Comparison of Geographical Indication Registrations between Australia and Italy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Paula Caroline Zito
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2018 - ongoing Member Australian Health Ethics Committee NHMRC Australia
    2016 - ongoing Chair Southern Adelaide Clinical Human Research Ethics Committee - -
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2013 - ongoing Associate Editor Journal of Bioethical Inquiry - -
  • Position: Associate Professor
  • Phone: 83136302
  • Email:
  • Fax: 83134344
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Ligertwood, floor 3
  • Org Unit: Adelaide Law School

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