James Lawford Davies

James has always worked in the health sector. He qualified as a solicitor in 2000 after training with a specialist healthcare firm. After qualifying he became increasingly specialised in the regulation of assisted reproduction and embryo research, and subsequently in broader human tissue and cell based therapies and research. He later joined the litigation team at Clifford Chance before setting up his own niche life sciences firm in 2010. James joined Hempsons in 2015.

James advises a large number of clinics, hospitals, universities and research centres licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC). He has been involved in most of the leading cases relating to assisted reproduction, embryo and stem cell research. James’ recent pro bono work has been highlighted in a case study by the Law Society, which can be found here.

James is an experienced litigator and has been involved in cases at every level in the UK courts. Much of his work concerns the judicial review of regulatory bodies, and cases arising as a result of regulatory action.

In addition to his private practice, James was a lecturer in law and medicine at the University of Newcastle and a visiting research fellow at Durham University Law School. He is now a honorary lecturer in the Department of Biochemical Engineering at University College London.

Main areas of expertise

  • IVF
  • Embryo research
  • Human tissue
  • Cell and gene therapies
  • Genetics

The clients he works with

  • Private clinics and hospitals
  • NHS clinics and hospitals
  • Universities and research foundations
  • Private healthcare and life science companies
  • Charities


  • LLM
  • LLB (Hons)

Professional Memberships

  • Department of Biochemical Engineering, UCL – Honorary Lecturer
  • London Regenerative Medicine Network – Director
  • CaSE (Campaign for Science and Engineering) – Director
  • British Fertility Society – Member
  • Legal and Human Rights Advisory Board, Genetics Policy Institute, Florida – Member
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Cell and Gene Therapy Insights – Member
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Regenerative Medicine – Member

Recent publications

  • Craven L, Herbert M, Murdoch A, Murphy J, Lawford Davies J, Turnbull DM, ‘Research into Policy: A Brief History of Mitochondrial Donation’ – Stem Cells, 2015
  • Culme-Seymour EJ, Lawford Davies J, Hitchcock J, Mason J, Carpenter MK, Mason C: ‘A US Cell Therapy Regulatory Toolkit’ – Cell & Gene Therapy Insights, 2015
  • Denoon A, Hitchcock J, Lawford Davies J, ‘The Regulation of Stem Cell Research in the UK and EU’ – Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine: Science, Regulation and Business Strategies (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015: ISBN: 978-1-119-97139-9)
  • Culme-Seymour EJ, Lawford Davies J, Hitchcock J, Carpenter MK, Mason C: ‘Cell Therapy Regulatory Toolkit: An online regulatory resource.’ – Regenerative Medicine, 2015
  • Lawford Davies J, Sethe S, ‘The Legal Duties of Stem Cell Banks with Regard to Stem Cell Donors and Recipients’ – Stem Cell Banking (ed. Ilic) (Springer, 2014: ISBN 1493905848)
  • Cuchiara M, Lawford Davies J, Matthews K, ‘Defining “Research” in the US and EU: Contrast of Sherley and Greenpeace Rulings’ – Stem Cell Reviews and Report (August 2013)
  • Lawford Davies J, Denoon A, ‘Brüstle Decision Is Unhelpful, but Not Catastrophic’ – Cell Stem Cell, Vol. 9, Issue 6
  • Lawford Davies J, Thornhill A, ‘Regulation and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’ – ‘Coward and Wells: Textbook of Clinical Embryology’ (Cambridge University Press, 2013) ISBN 0521166403

NewsView all