Professor Sheila McLean, OBE and Professor Emerita of Law and Ethics in Medicine at the University of Glasgow, is an Accredited Expert representing the UK on UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee.
Professor McLean established the UK’s first full Honours programme in Medical law in 1976. Following her appointment as Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow in 1985, she became a pioneer in her field – establishing the Institute of Law and Ethics in Medicine and in 1990, becoming the first International Bar Association Professor of Law and Ethics in Medicine. As an Accredited Expert for the UK National Commission for UNESCO, Shelia represents the UK government on the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee and so advises the International Bioethics Committee – the only global forum dedicated to reflecting on bioethics.
Her research career has been distinguished and prolific with numerous books and journal articles published. She has been awarded honorary degrees by the Universities of Abertay, Dundee and Edinburgh, and Fellowships of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal Society of Arts. In January 2020 she was appointed an OBE in recognition of her services to health and education.
As a member and then Vice-Chairperson of UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee and the Council of Canadian Academies, Professor McLean has provided specialist advice to a range of international bodies including the Council of Europe, World Health Organisation and The Royal Society of Canada. In the UK she chaired the Department of Health review of consent provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act and was specialist adviser to both the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, and a joint Committee of the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
In Scotland, she was the first Chair of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, Chair of the Inquiry into the Use of Organs at Post Mortem and Chair of the Committee of Inquiry into No Fault Liability. She has been a frequent commentator in the media and has given keynote lectures in many countries around the world.