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The University of Southampton
Institute of Criminal Justice Research Members

Professor John Coggon LLB, PhD

Professor of Law and the Philosophy of Public Health

Professor John Coggon's photo

Professor John Coggon is Professor of Law and the Philosophy of Public Health within Southampton Law School at the University of Southampton.

I joined the Law School at Southampton in 2012 as Reader in Law, and was promoted in 2014 to Professor of Law and the Philosophy of Public Health. I am a member of the Research Centre in Health, Ethics and Law , with particular interests in Public Health Ethics and Law . My research and teaching interests lie in legal, moral, and political theory, primarily as these concern health and health policy. I am engaged in a wide range of teaching and research activities, including many interdisciplinary and international collaborations involving people from a variety of fields.

Before moving to Southampton, I held two positions in the School of Law at the University of Manchester. The first was as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, working in the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy on a project entitled "Making Laws on Public Health: Regulation of Responsibilities and Freedoms". This led to various published works, including my book What Makes Health Public? (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Following my postdoctoral fellowship, I was a Research Fellow in the Institute for Science, Ethics, and Innovation, where I worked on the Wellcome Strategic Programme on The Human Body, Its Scope, Limits and Future. In this role I extended my study of public health to include research in global health, as well as focusing particularly on questions relating to methods in interdisciplinary bioethics.

Amongst my publications from this fellowship is the book, co-edited with Simona Giordano and Marco Cappato, Scientific Freedom, (Bloomsbury, 2012), and the book co-edited with Swati Gola, Global Health and International Community, (Bloomsbury, 2013).

Research interests

My research examines legal, moral, and political theory, particularly in regard to human health and welfare.

The main focus of my work is on public health broadly conceived. I am interested in exploring questions concerning the source, scope, and limits of the State’s role in securing people’s welfare, and the basis and extent of individual and social responsibility for doing so. My most comprehensive analysis of these is found in my book What Makes Health Public? (Cambridge University Press, 2012). I am also interested in global health, and especially questions concerning the limits to transnational obligations for human welfare.

Beyond public and global health, I have research interests in various areas of health care law and ethics, including:

  • patient autonomy,
  • the theory and application of best interests judgments,
  • mental capacity law,
  • 'assisted-dying' and end-of-life law,
  • organ donation policy,
  • the role and significance of moral theory in health care law, policy, and practice, and
  • methods in interdisciplinary bioethics research.

I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in undertaking doctoral research, and from potential applicants interested in developing proposals for postdoctoral research positions at Southampton in any area related to my research.

Research group

Health Ethics and Law (HEAL)

Affiliate research groups

Centre for Law, Ethics and Globalisation, Political and Legal Philosophy

  • Southampton Law School Impact Lead
  • Member of the British Medical Journal’s Ethics Committee
  • Member of University Hospital Southampton's Clinical Ethics Committee
  • Editor-in-Chief of Health Care Analysis
  • Editorial Board Member of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
  • International Associate Editor of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry
  • Editorial Board Member of Public Health Ethics


  • Legal System and Reasoning
  • Health Care Law
  • Ethics in a Complex World
  • Social Science of Healthcare


  • Public Health
  • Public Health Nutrition
Professor John Coggon
58/4025 Sociology, Social Policy & Applied Social Sciences Social Sciences University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

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