Dr Michaela Okninski


Adelaide Law School

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

I am an early career researcher at Adelaide Law School, being appointed full-time lecturer in 2021.

I have a long connection with the Adelaide Law School community, commencing as a PhD Candidate in 2015, and sessional teacher in 2017. I was awarded my PhD in 2022, where I examined the statutory framework of consent in proposed voluntary assisted dying legislation in South Australia, focusing on protection against undue influence in the consent process. I was appointed to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Taskforce, convened by SA Health, in December 2021, and the Education and Training Working Group in February 2022, who are responsible for overseeing the development of mandatory voluntary assisted dying training for medical practitioners.

I am continuing my research on voluntary assisted dying with specific focus on minors and decision-making capacity for voluntary assisted dying. My other research interests include mental incapacity in the context of wills and estates law, viewing this issue from a dual perspective by examining the potential implications this has for legal and medical professionals alike.

School Administrative Roles

  1. First Year Coordinator - Adelaide Law School
  2. Academic Integrity Officer - Adelaide Law School
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2024 Fellowship Barbara Kidman Fellowship University of Adelaide Australia $29, 731
    2022 Award Dean's Award (Research) Early Career Academic University of Adelaide Australia $1000
    2022 Award Dean's Award University of Adelaide Australia -
    2021 Award Executive Deans Award - Faculty of Professions University of Adelaide Australia -
  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2023 Okninski, M. E. (2023). Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia—Key Similarities and Points of Difference Concerning Eligibility Criteria in the Individual State Legislation. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 20(1), 13-16.
    DOI Scopus3 Europe PMC1
    2021 Okninski, M. E., & Grieger, J. (2021). Evolving Law: Further Developments Concerning MAID in Canada—Bill C-7 Receives Royal Assent and Revisiting Ethicon Sàrl. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 18(3), 371-376.
    DOI Scopus2 Europe PMC1
    2021 Okninski, M. E. (2021). Why Death Need Not Be "Reasonably Foreseeable"-The Proposed Legislative Response to Truchon and Gladu v Attorney General (Canada) and Attorney General (Quebec) [2019] QCCS 3792.. Journal of bioethical inquiry, 18(1), 5-8.
    DOI Scopus4 Europe PMC2
    2019 Okninski, M. E. (2019). The Catastrophic Consequences of Negligent Misinformation—Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust [2018] UKSC 50. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 16(1), 13-16.
    DOI Scopus1 Europe PMC1
    2018 Okninski, M. E. (2018). A Comparative Analysis of Voluntariness Safeguards and Review Procedure under Oregon and the Netherlands' Physician Assisted Dying Laws. Dalhousie Law Journal, 41(1), 121-151.
    2017 Richards, B. J., & Okninski, M. (2017). Considering Professional Misconduct and Best Interests of a Child (Palliative Orders). Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 14(1), 19-22.
    DOI Scopus2 WoS2 Europe PMC2
    2017 Richards, B., & Okninski, M. (2017). The best interests of a child: A tragedy in three parts. Medical Law Review, 25(1), 138-149.
    DOI Scopus3 WoS2 Europe PMC1
    2017 Okninski, M. E. (2017). Commentary on Undue Influence Provisions under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act and California’s End of Life Option Act. Journal of Law and Medicine, 25(1), 77-85.
    Scopus2 Europe PMC1
    2016 Pope, T., & Okninski, M. (2016). Legal standards for brain death and undue influence in euthanasia laws. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 13(2), 173-178.
    DOI Scopus2 Europe PMC1
    2016 Okninski, M. (2016). Determining a Child's Best Interests when Parents Refuse Medical Treatment-CAHS v Kiszko & Anor [2016] FCWA 19. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 1-4.
    2016 Richards, B., & Okninski, M. E. (2016). Regulating "quack" medicine and decision-making for children re-visited. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 13(4), 467-471.
    DOI Scopus2 WoS3 Europe PMC2
    2016 Okninski, M. (2016). Determining a Child’s Best Interests when Parents Refuse Medical Treatment—CAHS v Kiszko & Anor [2016] FCWA 19. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 13(3), 365-368.
    DOI Scopus3 Europe PMC4
  • Report for External Bodies

    Year Citation
    2023 Pandos, O., Williams, J., Plater, D., Brunacci, A., Okninski, M., Marinas, E., . . . Arlotta, S. (2023). Review of the Mental Health Act 2009 (SA): Final Report (18). Adelaide: South Australian Law Reform Institute.
    2022 Pandos, O., Williams, J., Grypma, K., Okninski, M., & Plater, D. (2022). Review of the Mental Health Act 2009 (SA): Interim Report.
    2022 Plater, D., Brunacci, A., Nicholls, H., Holt, J., Okninski, M., Pandos, O., . . . Williams, J. (2022). 'Autonomy and Safeguarding are not Mutually Inconsistent': A Review of the Operation of the Ageing and Adult Safeguarding Act 1995 (SA) (17). South Australian Law Reform Institute.
  • Theses

    Year Citation
    2022 Okninski, M. (2022). Meaningful Protection or Unacceptable Risk? A Critical Analysis of Undue Influence as a Safeguard in Proposed Voluntary Assisted Dying Legislation in South Australia. (PhD Thesis, University of Adelaide).

2024 - Recipient of Barbara Kidman Fellowship

2023 - Internal Faculty Grant - University of Adelaide

2022- Internal Faculty Grant - University of Adelaide


End-of-Life Law: Selected Issues

Medical Law and Ethics

Tort Law

Foundations of Law


  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2023 - ongoing Board Member Restricted Medical Treatment Assessment Board ACT Government Australia
    2022 - ongoing Secretary Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law Australia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2022 - 2022 Board Member Voluntary Assisted Dying Education and Training Working Group Department of Health and Wellbeing (SA Health) Australia
    2021 - 2023 Board Member Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Taskforce Department of Health and Wellbeing (SA Health) Australia

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External Profiles