Margaret Somerville


Margaret Somerville is Samuel Gale Professor of Law Emerita, Professor Emerita in the Faculty of Medicine, and Founding Director Emerita of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University, Montreal, where she taught from 1978 to 2016, when she returned to Sydney to become Professor of Bioethics in the School of Medicine at The University of Notre Dame Australia.

She has a distinguished academic record and an extensive national and international publishing and speaking record and is a frequent commentator in all forms of media.

She has authored several books - The Ethical Canary: Science, Society, and the Human Spirit (Penguin 2000); Death Talk: the Case Against Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide (MQUP 2002); The Ethical Imagination: Journeys of the Human Spirit (Anansi 2006)., which she delivered as the nationally broadcast CBC 2006 Massey Lectures; and most recently Birds on an Ethics Wire: battles about Values in the Culture Wars (MQUP 2015) - and has edited others, as well as publishing chapters and articles in academic texts and journals, and comment columns in the mainstream media, totaling many hundreds.

Professor Somerville consults, nationally and internationally, to a wide variety of bodies including governments, NGO’s, UN agencies and the private corporations. She has received many honours and awards including the Order of Australia, eight honorary doctorates and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2003 she was chosen by an international jury as the first recipient of the UNESCO Avicenna Prize for Ethics in Science; in 2013 she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for services to higher education; and in 2014 she received the Jean Echlin Award for Ethics in Palliative Care sponsored by the de Veber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research.

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