Ms Ciara Staunton

BCL, LLM, Dip sa Gh

T:091 492252
E:Email Staff member


Ciara Staunton began her Ph.D in February 2010 in the School of Law. Her thesis, funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS), is entitled The Regulation of Stem Cell Research in Ireland and is supervised by Dr Laurent Pech. In addition, Ciara has received numerous scholarships including the Phyllis and Albert Sussman Subsidy to attend the Hastings Centre as a Visiting Scholar in the Autumn of 2011, a travel grant by the International Society for Stem Cell Research to present at its annual meeting in Japan in June 2012 and a graduate travel award by the Law and Society Association to present at its annual conference in Hawaii in June of 2012.

In the Autumn of 2012, Ciara was an intern with the Department of Ethics, Trade and Human Rights at the World Health Organisation in Geneva. Her expertise in stem cell research led to her appointment as  a Director to the Irish Stem Cell Foundation in 2012. In January 2013 she appeared as a legal expert before the Joint Oireachtas Health Committee on proposed abortion legislation in Ireland.

Ciara graduated with a BCL from NUI Galway in 2006. In 2007 she graduated with a first class honours in the LLM in Public Law. In 2008 Ciara was a researcher on the Rape Attrition Project which was published in January 2010. From July 2008-2010 Ciara worked as a legal researcher with the Law Reform Commission of Ireland. She was a legal researcher for the Commission’s Consultation Paper and Report on Advance Care Directives and also the legal researcher for the Commission’s Report on Legal Aspects of Carers.


Research Interests

Ciara’s research interests lie in the regulation of biotechnology generally and also the interaction between the law and society and how the law should react to societal changes.

Research Projects

Ciara's PhD thesis, “The Regulation of Stem Cell Research in Ireland”, will explore the regulation of stem cell research internationally to determine a regulatory model for stem cell research which is suitable for Ireland.

Research Publications


  • C Staunton “Brustle v Greenpeace, Embryonic Stem Cell Researchand the European Court of Justice’s New Found Morality” Medical Law Review (in print)
  • C Staunton “Issues Concerning Embryonic Stem Cell Research in Ireland” (2012) 18(1) Medico Legal Journal of Ireland
  •  C Staunton “As Easy as A, B and C: Will A, B and C v. Ireland Be Ireland’s Wake-up Call for Abortion Rights?” (2011) 18 European Journal of Health Law 205
  •  C Staunton “The Development of Health Care Planning in Ireland” (2009) 15(2) Medico Legal Journal of Ireland


  • Law Reform Commission Report Legal Aspects of Carers LRC 105-2011
  • Law Reform Commission Report Advance Care Directives LRC 94-2009
  • Law Reform Commission Consultation Paper Advance Care Directives LRC CP 51-2008

Conference Papers

  • “Achieving Consensus when Ethics is in Conflict” University of Manchester, December 2012 “The Evolution of Reproductive Rights in Ireland: A Discussion ”World Health Organisation, Geneva, November 2012
  • “Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research in Europe in light of Brustle v Greenpeace”, Yokohama, Japan, June 2012
  • “Ethics, Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Democratic Deliberation” International Conference on Law and Society, Hawaii, June 2012
  • “Irish Stem Cell Research and Treatment and the Legislative Vacuum” Irish Stem Cell Summit: 'Stem Cells in Ireland' Science, Medicine, Advocacy, Ethics, Policy, Politics, and the Law, Dublin, 5 February 2011
  • “The Role of Ethics in Regulating Embryonic Stem Cell Research” Hastings Centre, New York 17 October 2011
  • “Regulating Stem Cell Research through Funding” 2011 Irish Society of Comparative Law Conference, 30 April 2011
  • “Regulating Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: Endorsing Discrimination?” Centre for Disability, Law and Policy, NUI Galway, 29 April 2011
  • “Is there a Place for Ethics in Embryonic Stem Cell Research?” 2011 Scottish Young Legal Researchers Colloquium, 22 April 2011
  • “The Future Implications of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis” Genomics Conference Ten Years After: Mapping the Societal Genomics Landscape, Amsterdam, May 2010.
  • “A Superhuman Race? Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Disability Detection” Global PhD and Researchers Colloquium on Disability Law and Policy, April 2010.
  • “The Jury as a Protector” presented at a seminar in NUI, Galway, October 2009.
  • “Jury Nullification-Is such a power desirable in Irish Law?” 5th Annual Criminology Conference, June 2009.
  • “Refusal of Medical Treatment and Religion-An Irish Perspective” 10th Annual Student Human Rights Conference, University of Nottingham, February 2009.
  •  “Jury Nullification in Ireland”, presented at the North-South Criminology Conference, U.C.D., September 2007.

Teaching Areas

Ciara currently is the lead lecturer for the Regulation of Biotechnology course on the LLM in Law, Technology and Governance at NUI Galway. She has also taught in Jurisprudence, Health Law and Policy and Key Issues in Irish Law.