Our People

Wayne Martin


Educated at Cambridge University (BA, MA) and the University of California at Berkeley (PhD), Wayne is a philosopher by training. His principal philosophical interests include issues of judgement and decision-making and the theory of agency.  

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Since 2009, much of his teaching and research has been at the interdisciplinary intersection of philosophy, human rights, and health care policy.  He has worked closely with clinicians and service users to develop a better understanding of decision-making under conditions of serious mental illness, and has provided research support to government bodies and NGOs across the UK and around the world in ongoing efforts to bring mental health and mental capacity law into compliance with modern human rights standards.

Dr Matt Burch

Matt completed a PhD in philosophy at Rice University and taught at the University of Arkansas for five years before coming to Essex in 2013.

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He has published articles on philosophical method and the phenomenology of agency. His current research focuses on issues in moral psychology with an approach that draws from the resources of both empirical psychology and the phenomenological tradition.

Professor Sabine Michalowksi

Sabine joined the School of Law in 2000. She graduated from Hamburg, qualified as a lawyer in Berlin, and holds a Diploma in Comparative Law awarded by the University of Paris II and a PhD from the University of Sheffield. 

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Sabine’s research interests include end of life decision making, in particular the controversial issue of assisted dying. For the EAP, Sabine contributes to research on the Mental Capacity Act and compliance with the UNCRPD and the Mental Health and Justice project. She is also Director of the Essex Transitional Justice Network.

Prof Timo Jütten

Email: tjuetten@essex.ac.uk

Timo’s holds a PhD from the University of Sussex and is Prof of Philosophy at the University of Essex, where he directs the Competition and Competitiveness project. Timo has contributed to Autonomy Project research on the UNCRPD.

Dr Aaron Wyllie

Aaron trained as a social worker at Monash University (BA, PhD) in Australia, and is currently the Programme Lead for the BA Social Work at the University of Essex.

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Aaron’s current research explores older peoples’ experience of home in community and care home contexts. For the EAP, Aaron contributes to the Human Rights in Care Homes” project.

Caroline Bald

Caroline is a registered social worker qualifying at University of Glasgow (MSW) in Scotland, and is currently the Programme Lead for the MA Social Work at the University of Essex. 

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Caroline’s current research explores brain injury social work, human rights and social work education curricula. Caroline is the Director of the 2022 Autonomy Project Summer School.

Hannah Atkinson

Hannah is a qualified Speech & Language Therapist and a lecturer at the University of Essex.

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Hannah’s areas of expertise are acquired communication and swallowing disorders in adults. She has previously worked in a range of healthcare settings, including acute general wards, acute stroke units and community stroke rehabilitation. Hannah’s areas of interest include acute stroke management, dysphagia associated with neurological disorders, as well as the role of Speech & Language Therapists in facilitating mental capacity assessments for people with communication needs.


Ben Troke

Ben is a practising solicitor, author and qualified mediator, and has been working in the health and care sector since 2000.  Ben advises and provides training to commissioners and providers of health and care nationwide, across the NHS and independent sector, with a particular interest in the law around medical treatment decision-making, mental capacity / best interests decisions, and the interface between health and social care. 

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Ben has an LLM in medical law and ethics and is widely published across sector specific, academic and general press.  He is a member of the Law Society’s Mental Health and Disability Committee, and the Law and Ethics Policy Unit of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.  Ben’s ‘A Practical Guide to the Law of Medical Treatment Decisions’ by Ben Troke – Law Brief Publishing was published in September 2020, and ‘A Practical Guide to the Law of Deprivation of Liberty’ by Ben Troke – Law Brief Publishing is due out in the Autumn 2023. 

Dr Thomas Hartvigsson

Thomas was a Senior Research Officer within the Mental Health and Justice Project working within the Insight Workstream. He earned his PhD in practical philosophy from the University of Gothenburg. He wrote his dissertation on decision-making competence and the relationship between the right to make decisions and moral responsibility. He also has a broader interest in ethical questions pertaining to the family.

Dr Sándor Gurbai

Sándor worked at the Autonomy Project for more than two years on the Insight Workstream of the Wellcome-funded Mental Health and Justice Project. He is currently Impact Manager at Validity Foundation – Mental Disability Advocacy Centre, Hungary. 

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He is also a visiting fellow at the Human Rights Centre, School of Law, University of Essex, UK and Assistant Professor at the Institute for Disability and Social Participation, Faculty of Special Needs Education, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary. He holds a PhD from Pázmány Péter Catholic University (Hungary) in law and political sciences. He has experiences, inter alia, in human rights monitoring of places of detention, and conducting advocacy at national, EU, Council of Europe and UN levels. Sándor’s interests are in human rights and disability studies.

Dr Katherine Furman

Katherine is a Philosophy Lecturer at the University of Liverpool. College Cork, where she directs the MA in Health and Society. Previously she was a Lecturer at University College Cork and a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Durham University’s ‘Knowledge for Use’ project. She completed a PhD in Philosophy at the London School of Economics in 2016.

Dr Gareth Owen

Gareth leads the Mental Health, Ethics and Law research group in the Department of Psychological Medicine at King’s College London. He is Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s and a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Research Fellow. He also practices as a consultant psychiatrist in a home treatment team in Lambeth. Gareth’s work focuses on decision-making capacity and he has collaborated with the EAP on several research projects.

Professor Jill Stavert

Jill is Professor of Law in the Business School of Edinburgh Napier University. Her research focuses on European and national human rights law and mental health and she works with a number of public and voluntary sector organisations and regulatory bodies in the field of mental health, incapacity and human rights. Jill is part of the core research team for the EAP Three Jurisdictions project and works with the EAP on issues of CRPD compliance and human rights law.

Adrian Ward

Adrian is an international expert in adult incapacity law. He was closely involved in the law reform process leading to the Incapacity Act, as an external expert engaged by the Scottish Law Commission and as principal spokesperson for the Alliance which campaigned for the legislation.

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Adrian is a prolific legal author, whose many books and articles have spanned more than three decades. His books include the current standard Scottish texts on adult incapacity law. Adrian has been convener of the Mental Health and Disability Committee of the Law Society of Scotland since 1989 and works with the World Health Organisation and several European Governments. He was awarded an MBE “for services to the mentally handicapped in Scotland”. Adrian works with the EAP on mental health law and is a member of the core research team for the Three Jurisdictions project.

Alex Ruck Keene

Alex is an experienced barrister, writer and educator. His practice is focused on mental capacity law and he provides specialist advice and representation, as well as training for front line professionals. Alex writes extensively in the field, editing and contributing to leading text books and to the 39 Essex Chambers Mental Capacity Law Newsletter. He is the creator of the Mental Capacity Law and Policy website, providing resources and expert commentary on some of the most difficult mental capacity issues. Alex is also a Visiting Lecturer and a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at King’s College London. He has collaborated with the EAP on several projects, most recently the Three Jurisdictions.

Dr Margot Kuylen

Margot is Senior Research Advisor at the British Medical Association, where she focuses on ethical, social, and legal aspects of health. Previously she was affiliated with the Mental Health, Ethics and Law group (King’s College London) and served on the staff of the Autonomy Project as part of the Human Rights in Care Homes project.

Dr Vivek Bhatt

Vivek is Assistant Professor at the University of Utrecht. He previously worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate for the Human Rights in Care Homes project. His research focused on the implications of decision-making in care homes for international, regional, and domestic human rights law, particularly the rights to life and non-discrimination.

Dr Emily Fitton

Emily holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Essex. She has special expertise on the challenges of respect for autonomy in end-of-life care planning. She has contributed extensively to Autonomy Project research on Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation and so called “DNACPR Recommendations.”

Research Students

Vivienne Ashley (PhD 2014) Autonomy, Responsibility and Social Welfare Entitlement

Margot Kuylen (PhD 2019): Disruptions of Agency in Self-Oppression

John J. Sykes (MPhil 2021): Evidence in Neuro-Phenomenology

Bryan T. Reuther (PhD 2022): Dissociation and Being in the World

Danny Shipsides (PhD 2022): Making Sense of (Non)Adherence

Peter Tsoukkas (current PhD student): The Right to Inclusion in the Community: A Recognition-Theoretic Approach