Kent Law School

Critical perspectives research led teaching




Forensic, ethical and medical aspects of neuroscience, regulation of health and bioscience technologies, robotics, neurodiversity and constructions of disability, decision-making capacity, body alteration, neurorehabilitation, end of life decision-making, psychoactive substance use, enhancement, ethical and legal relations between species, critical/cultural theory and feminist perspectives applied to all the above.

Major research project

As a member of the EU funded FET Flagship Initiative Robot Companions for Citizens Ethics and Society Working Group, I am investigating the ethical and legal implications of the creation of sentient robots as companions for citizens, particularly as the European population ages.

Member of NICE (National Institue for Health and Clinical Excellence) Guideline Development Group for Autism in Children and Young People.

Some examples of Robin's media appearances are here.

Research Areas: Gender and Sexuality, Health Care Law and Ethics

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Mackenzie, R. (2018). Sexbots: sex slaves, vulnerable others or perfect partners? International Journal of Technoethics [Online] 9. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2017). Greed, Gullibility and Golden Eggs: FMT and Ethical, Legal and Practical Difficulties Regulating Transactions in Readily Accessed and Exchanged Bodily Products. American Journal of Bioethics [Online] 17:57-59. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2016). Deep Brain Stimulation for Psychopaths—A No Brainer. American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience [Online] 7:137-139. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2016). Tensions between rehabilitation ethics and precedent autonomy in end-of-life decision-making after traumatic brain injury. American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience [Online] 7:76-77. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2015). Sexbots: can we justify engineering carebots who love too much? Lovotics.
Mackenzie, R. (2015). Sexbots: our next partners. Multitudes [Online] 58. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2015). Capacity to consent to sex reframed: IM, TZ (no 2), the need for an evidence based model of sexual decision-making and socio-sexual competence. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry [Online] 40:50-59. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2015). What can neuroscience tell us about the potential of psychedelics in healthcare? How the neurophenomenology of psychedelics research could help us to flourish throughout our lives, as well as to enhance our dying. Current Drug Abuse Reviews [Online] 7:136-145. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2015). Ms X: a promising new view of anorexia nervosa, futility and end of life decisions in a very recent English case. American Journal of Bioethics [Online] 15:57-58. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2014). Authenticity versus autonomy in choosing the New Me: beyond IEC and NIEC in DBS. American Journal of Bioethics – Neuroscience [Online] 5:51-53. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2014). The Mental Health Act versus the Mental Capacity Act: is the MHA losing its edge? Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 19:29-34. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2014). Is childhood a disability? Using Mental Capacity Tribunals and Deprivation of Liberty safeguards to shield children's capacity to consent to and to refuse medical treatment. Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 19:96-106. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2013). The Zone of Parental Control: a Reasonable Idea or an Unusable Concept? Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 18:38-44. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2013). Perceptions of living with a device-based treatment: an account of patients treated with deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease. Neuromodulation [Online] 17:272-278. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2013). Fragments of selves and the importance of emotionality: ethicolegal challenges in assessing capacities, consent and communicating with MCS patients and the need for guidelines. American Journal of Bioethics – Neuroscience [Online] 4:59-60. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2013). Sexual health, neurodiversity and capacity to consent to sex'. Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 18:88-98. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. et al. (2012). Challenges of Ethical and Legal Responsibilities When Technologies' Uses and Users Change: Social Networking Sites, Decision-Making Capacity and Dementia. Ethics and Information Technology [Online] 14:99-108. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2012). Does Lack of a Moral Feeling Brain Indicate Moral Disability? Children Diagnosed with Callous Unemotional Traits, Emotion Regulation and the Potential of Treatment with Oxytocin. Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 17:184-193. Available at:
Mackenzie, R., Watts, J. and Howe, L. (2012). Supporting aspirations – or not? Recent reforms on equality, the green paper on Special Educational Needs and the potential of a neurodiversity spectrum statement. Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 17:36-48. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2011). Teleneurology: ethics of devolving responsibility from clinicians to family/carers. British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing 7:429-432.
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2011). Can clinicians and carers make valid decisions about other's decision-making capacities unless tests of decision-making include emotionality and neurodiversity? Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 16:43-51. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2011). Is Our Legal, Healthcare and Social Support Infrastructure Neurodiverse Enough: How Far are the Aims of the Neurodiversity Movement Fulfilled for Those Diagnosed with Cognitive Disability and Learning Disability? Tizard Learning Disability Review:30-37.
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2011). Including Emotionality in Tests of Competence: How Does Neurodiversity Affect Measures of Free Will and Agency in Medical Decision Making? American Journal of Bioethics – Neuroscience [Online] 2:27-36. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2011). Who Should Hold the Remote for the New Me? Cognitive, Affective and Behavioural Side-Effects of DBS and Authentic Choices over Future Personalities'. American Journal of Bioethics 2.
Mackenzie, R. (2011). Must family/carers look after strangers? Post-DBS identity changes and related conflicts of interest. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience [Online]. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2011). Robots, social networking sites and multi-user games: using new and existing assistive technologies to promote human flourishing. Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 16:38-47. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2011). How the Politics of Inclusion/Exclusion and the Neuroscience of Dehumanisation/Rehumanisation Can Contribute to Animal Activists' Strategies: Bestia Sacer II. Society & Animals 19:405-422.
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2010). Injustice and Disabilities: the Case Against the Extradition of Gary McKinnon to the USA. Tizard Learning Disability Review:45-51.
Mackenzie, R. (2010). The Neuroethics of Pleasure and Addiction in Public Health Strategies: Moving Beyond Harm Reduction: Funding the Creation of Non-Addictive Drugs and Taxonomies of Pleasure. Neuroethics [Online]:103-117. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2010). 'Don't Let Them Eat Cake! A View From Across the Pond. American Journal of Bioethics 10:16.
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2010). The Reform of the Law Governing the Social Care of Adults in England and Wales. Tizard Learning Disability Review:45-52.
Mackenzie, R. (2010). Missing a Beat: Police Responses to the Learning Disabled Wales. Tizard Learning Disability Review:45-52.
Mackenzie, R. and Sakel, M. (2009). Patient satisfaction with botulinum toxin in adult spasticity. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation 16:280-287.
Mackenzie, R. and Sakel, M. (2009). How patient satisfaction surveys can inform service delivery. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation 16:15-21.
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2009). Callous/unemotional Conduct Disorder as a Learning Disability. Tizard Learning Disability Review 14:38-44.
Mackenzie, R. and Sakel, M. (2009). How patient satisfaction surveys can inform service delivery: response to commentaries. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation 16:401.
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2009). Implications for Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their Families, Carers and Professionals, and the Need to Differentiate between Differences and Disabilities. Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 14:33-38. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. and Watts, J. (2009). 'Mind the Gap! The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in the Amended Mental Capacity Act 2005'. Tizard Learning Disability Review 14:51-55.
Mackenzie, R. (2008). Somatechnics of Medico-legal Taxonomies, Elective Amputation, Transableism and Functional Somatic Syndromes. Medical Law Review 16:389-412.
Mackenzie, R. (2008). Feeling Good: the Ethopolitics of Pleasure, Psychoactive Substance Use and Public Health and Criminal Justice System Governance: Therapeutic Jurisprudence and the Drug Courts in the United States of America. Social and Legal Studies [Online] 17:513-533. Available at:
Book section
Mackenzie, R. (2015). Dying high: using psychedelics to maximise end of life choices by enhancing the dying experience. in: King, D. ed. Neurotransmissions : Essays on Psychedelics from Breaking Convention. Strange Attractor Press.
Mackenzie, R. (2013). Care as Cornucopia: a Critical Ethics of care and Fantasies of Security in the Neoliberal Affective Economy. in: Priaulx, N. and Wrigley, A. eds. The Ethics of Care: Ethics, Law and Society. Ashgate. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. and Sakel, M. (2011). Neuroscience of Cruelty as Brain Damage: Legal Framings of Capacity and Ethical Issues in the Neuro-rehabilitation of Motor Neurone Disease and Behavioural Variant Fronto-temporal Dementia Patients'. in: Freeman, M. ed. Law & Neuroscience:Current Legal Issues. Oxford University Press, pp. 283-307.
Mackenzie, R. (2010). Judgement of R v Brown [1993] AC 1; with Commentary by Matthew Weait. in: Hunter, R. and Rackley, E. eds. Feminist Judgements. Oxford: Hart Publishing, pp. 247-254.
Mackenzie, R. (2009). Synthetic Biology and (Re)productive Liberties: Biosecurity, Biosecrecy and Regulating New Technologies with Futures in Mind. in: Freeman, M. ed. Law and Bioethics: Current Legal Issues. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 238-256.
Mackenzie, R. (2009). Reframing the Good Death: Enhancing choice in dying, neuroscience, end of life research and the potential of psychedelics in palliative care. in: Freeman, M. and Goodenough, O. R. eds. Law, Mind and Brain. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing, pp. 239-266.
Mackenzie, R. (2009). Queering Spinoza's Somatechnics: Stem Cells and Strategic Sacralisation' in Somatechnics. in: Sullivan, N. and Murray, S. eds. Queering the Technologisation of Bodies. Ashgate, pp. 87-106.
Mackenzie, R. (2009). Bestia Sacer and Agamben's Anthropological Machine: Biomedical/legal Taxonomies As Somatechnologies of Human and Nonhuman Animals' Ethico-political Relations. in: Freeman, M. ed. Law and Anthropology: Current Legal Issues. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 484-523.
Conference or workshop item
Mackenzie, R. (2014). Sexbots: replacements for sex workers? Ethicolegal constraints on the creation of sentient beings for utilitarian purposes. in: Advances in Computer Entertainment 2014 ACE '14 Workshops.
Mackenzie, R. (2017). Review of Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, ed., Finding Consciousness: The Neuroscience, Ethics and Law of Severe Brain Damage. American Journal of Bioethics [Online] 17:4-6. Available at:
Mackenzie, R. (2018). Sexbots: biomimetics, biohybrids and ethical and legal constraints on customisation. in: Cheok, A., Levy, D. and Devlin, K. eds. Springer.
Showing 51 of 95 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]
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Teaching and Supervision

Robin convenes the postgraduate taught LLM and the undergraduate modules in Medical Law and Ethics, as well as the undergraduate module Law & Neuroscience: Forensic, Ethical & Medical Aspects.


All areas of Medical Law and Ethics, Intellectual Property and Banking Law.

Currently Supervising

Ben Slight: the ethics and economics of euthanasia arguments: the shortcomings of principilism

Mohammed Alhamz : Shariah law and the emergence of mobile banking in Saudi Arabia

Pamela White: Altruism in reproductive technologies

Jantje Technau: Bioethics and Ayurvedic medicine

Turki Al Nasser: Shariah law, international agreements and copyright in Saudi Arabia

Jonathan Austin-Joness: PhD The concept of fair play in sports regulation and biotechnologies

R Batchelor, Policy implications and ethical issues arising from E-health initiatives using social networking sites [SNS] in a therapeutic context for those with declining decision-making competence and capacity.

H. bin Hasher, Liability and coverage in health care in Saudi Arabia

M. Shariff, The best interests of the child in Malaysia


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Other Academic Activities

Editorial Work

External Appointments

  • Member of the EU funded FET Flagship Initiative Robot Companions for Citizens Ethics and Society Working Group, special responsibility for law and for ethical and legal aspects of human/robots social interaction
  • Member of the National Council for Palliative Care Ethics Committee
  • Member of London South East Research Ethics Committee
  • South East Research Ethics Committee
  • Robin has provided advice to Welcome Trust on Intellectual Property and Ethics issues and regularly reviews research grant applications for major funding bodies
  • East Kent University Hospital Research and Development Committee
  • Member of NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) Guideline Development Group for Autism in Children and Young People
  • Past member of Family Justice Council Working Party on Domestic Violence and Kent Family Justice Council,
  • Past member of National Institute for Healthcare and Clinical Excellence Long Term Conditions Topic Selection Panel.


  • Postgraduate student liaison
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The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 827636

Last Updated: 07/12/2015