Professor Emilie Cloatre

Professor in Law,
Director of Research,
Co-Director Social Critiques of Law (SoCriL)
01227 (82)7112
Professor Emilie Cloatre


Professor Emilie Cloatre is a socio-legal scholar whose main research interests lie in the intersection between law and contemporary 'science and society' issues, including pharmaceutical flows, access to health, and the regulation of alternative and traditional medicine. Her approach to law is influenced by insights from Science and Technology Studies, and in particular by Actor-Network Theory. Her publications include Pills for the Poorest: an Exploration of TRIPS and access to Medicines in sub-Saharan African (Palgrave McMillan, 2013 - awarded the 2014 Hart Socio-Legal Book prize) and Knowledge, Technology and Law (Routledge, 2014, with Martyn Pickersgill). She is currently Principal Investigator for 5-year Wellcome Trust project (Investigator Award, 2017-2022) entitled “Law, knowledges and the making of ‘modern’ healthcare: regulating traditional and alternative medicines in contemporary contexts”. 

Before joining Kent in 2010, she was a lecturer at the School of Law, University of Nottingham, and ESRC postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Science and Society, University of Nottingham. She has held visiting positions at the Centre for the Study of Law and Society, University of California at Berkeley; the Genomics Forum, University of Edinburgh; the School of Law, University of Singapore; and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. She was principal investigator for the AHRC Network Technoscience, Law and Society from 2013-2015.

Research interests

Professor Cloatre’s current research is primarily focused on a Wellcome Trust project (Investigator Award, 2017-2022) entitled “Law, knowledges and the making of ‘modern’ healthcare: regulating traditional and alternative medicines in contemporary contexts”. This project aims to explore the regulation of traditional and alternative medicines in Europe and Africa, interrogating both the historical and socio-cultural context of current regulatory systems, and their effects on local practices. It will do so through a socio-legal exploration of the regulation of traditional and alternative medicines in two regions where policy conversations have been particularly intense, and current regulatory systems remarkably varied (Europe and Africa). It will focus on six case studies, in three sub-regions that offer an overview both of the diversity of contexts in which those questions arise, and of the diversity in regulatory responses that states have adopted: France and England; Ghana and Senegal and Mauritius and La Reunion. For more information on the project, please see the project website.

Her broader research interests concern the relationship between law and medicine, and the politics of healthcare. Since 2010, her research has interrogated the important and frequently neglected issue of how law and medical practices constitute each other, with a particular attention to postcolonial contexts. Her key concern has been to explore the importance of law in furthering, perpetuating or, potentially, challenging health inequalities. This has been articulated around three themes: social justice and access to healthcare; ownership, medicine and global (in)equalities; and, more recently, resistance and legal change. Through this work, she have explored several jurisdictional contexts including Djibouti, Ghana, Ireland, the UK and international law. 

Conceptually, her work is located at the crossroad of law, Science and Technology Studies and (legal and medical) anthropology, and aims use such interdisciplinary insights to enhance understandings of law in practice. From 2013-2015 she led the AHRC network Technoscience, Law and Society, and is co-Director of the Social Critiques of Law Research Group (SoCriL)) since 2013. 


I am not teaching this academic year due to research and administrative commitments.


I welcome application from PhD students in my areas of expertise. This includes research on law and medicine, public and global health, as well as projects related to my broader thematic interests (development and inequalities, scientific knowledge and law, expertise and governance). I am also happy to consider projects that echo my conceptual and methodological interests (Law and posthuman theories; law and anthropology; law and Science and Technology Studies).


I am a member of the Socio-legal Studies Association; the editorial boards of the Medical Law Review and Droit et Société; and the Wellcome Trust Social Science and Bioethics Expert Review Group.

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