Ms Fiona Morrissey



Fiona is currently undertaking a Ph.D. on the use of advance decision-making in mental health care having completed an LL.M. in Public Law in 2009. She is specifically interested in legal tools which serve to promote empowerment and human rights for persons with disabilities. Fiona previously worked as an information officer with Barnardos Ireland where she developed an interest in rights based issues for vulnerable groups. She has worked in the third level sector in a number of different capacities over the past 8 years and has been lecturing part time on the law programmes at Athlone Institute of Technology since 2008. Fiona has published in the Medico Legal Journal of Ireland and the European Journal of Health Law and was awarded an NUI travelling studentship in the Humanities and Social Sciences in 2011.

Fiona is actively engaged with a number of organisations advocating for mental health and disability rights including Critical Voices Network Ireland and a number of local groups. She also has a keen interest in issues relating to legal education and e-learning and undertook a Certificate in Technology Enhanced Learning in 2012 and a module of the Diploma in Research Practice in 2011. She is also a member of the Irish Association of Law Teachers and the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians.


Research Interests

Mental Health Law; Disability Law; Human Rights; E learning in Legal Education; Legal Research Skills.

Research Projects

PhD Thesis

"The Introduction of a Legal Framework for Advance Directives in Irish Mental Health Care"

Abstract: The evolving human rights framework implies that persons with psychosocial disabilities have equal dignity and freedom to make decisions. The aim of the study is to explore the introduction of a legal framework for advance directives in Irish mental health care. Advance directives allow individuals to outline their treatment preferences and other life choices in advance of a mental health crisis when decision-making autonomy may be impacted. The thesis will examine the legal, ethical and human rights implications associated with their use. A comparative study will be undertaken in jurisdictions where advance directives are formally recognised to ascertain which framework if any may be suited Ireland. Due consideration will be given to the impact of international agreements such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The empirical research will determine whether such documents will be supported in Ireland by exploring the views of mental health service users and clinicians.

Other Projects

Fiona is also currently conducting empirical research with service users and clinicians as part of a mental health commission funded project on proposed introduction of advance directives in mental health care.

Research Publications

Peer Reviewed Journals

  • Fiona Morrissey, ‘Advance Directives in Mental Health Care: Hearing the Voice of the Mentally Ill’ (2010) 16 (1) Medico Legal Journal of Ireland 21. [Journal Article].
  • Fiona Morrissey, ‘The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A New Approach to Decision-Making in Mental Health Law’ (2012) 19 (4) European Journal of Health Law (In press) [Journal Article].

Book Chapters

  • Fiona Morrissey, ‘Advance Directives: Supporting Legal Capacity in Mental Health Care’ in Gerard Quinn and Charles O’Mahony (eds), The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Comparative, Regional and Thematic Perspectives (Intersentia 2012) (Forthcoming October 2012) [Book Chapter].

Conference Papers/Presentations

  • Fiona Morrissey, ‘The Introduction of a Legal Framework for Advance Directives in Irish Mental Health Care’(Ageing Globally, Ageing Locally, Centre for Research in Ageing (CARDI) International Conference, Dublin, November 2011) [Conference Poster Presentation]
  • Fiona Morrissey, Advance Directives: Opportunities for Choice in Mental Health?’ (Medicating Human Distress; Concerns, Critiques and Solutions, Critical Voices Network Ireland, School of Nursing & Midwifery & Applied Social Studies University College Cork, November 2011)[Conference Paper]
  • Fiona Morrissey, ‘The Introduction of Advance Directives in Mental Health Care’ (National Mental Health Services Collaborative Symposium, Dublin, February 2012) [Conference Poster Presentation]

Guest Lectures

  • Fiona Morrissey, ‘Opportunities of Choice in Mental Health Decision-Making’ (School of Nursing & Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, MSc in Mental Health, January 2012).

Teaching Areas

Human Rights; Legal Research and Writing; Company Law; Health/Disability Law; Learning at Third Level.