Centre for Social Ethics and Policy Archive

Scope and Content

Records of the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy, established in 1986. At present records only cover the period to the mid-1990s.

Details of the establishment of the Centre can be found in the files in CSEP/1, which provide invaluable information on its original objectives and methods of operation. This includes material on the development of the Centre, the MA in health Care Ethics, and the lecture and seminar programmes of the Centre.

CSEP/2 comprises the minutes of the Board of Studies for the MA (the Board came under the control of the Faculty of Education; CSEP/3 comprises a small and incomplete collection of lecture lists up to the early 1990s, and CSEP/4 is a small collection of the Centre's early promotional material and prospectuses.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Centre for Social Ethics and Policy was set up at the University of Manchester in July 1986. It was an interdisciplinary centre, which was originally supported by staff in the departments of law, religions and theology, philosophy and education. The Centre's original objectives were:

"1. to undertake and publish research on issues of social ethics and policy and to promote the study of such issues;

2. to stimulate the development of educational programmes on the ethical, legal and policy implications of such matters of great public concern."

The original Directors of the Centre were Professor Anthony Dyson (religions and theology), Dr John Harris (philosophy), Margaret Brazier (law) and Mary Lobjoit (a GP and member of the University's Student Health Centre). The Centre was overseen by an Advisory Board with representatives from within and outside the University of Manchester. The Centre's focus was research, but it was also responsible for teaching a MA in Health Care Ethics, which was the first degree of its kind in Europe when introduced in 1987. Mary Lobjoit had been lobbying for several years for such a course to be introduced at Manchester. The Centre had links to an existing group, the Manchester Medical Group, which was active in the area of medical ethics.

The Centre was concerned to study ethical and philosophical issues which had a strong contemporary relevance. Much early work was done in the areas of bioethics, biotechnology, animal rights and human embryo research. However, it has been involved with many other subject since its foundation. For example, In the early 1990s, the Centre completed a major project on ethical issues relating to AIDS, which was sponsored by the European Commission.

One of CSEP's particular objectives was to encourage medical practitioners to engage with wider issues of medical ethics. The Centre also helped establish the United Kingdom Forum on Health Care Ethics and Law in 1991. CSEP was responsible for a series of monographs published by Routledge in the series Social Ethics and Policy, and sponsored an annual public lecture.

The Centre is now recognised as one of the leading centres for the study of healthcare ethics and medical law.


  • CSEP/1 - Files
  • CSEP/2 - Minutes of the Board of Studies for the MA in Health Care Ethics
  • CSEP/3 - Lecture lists
  • CSEP/4 - Promotional material
  • CSEP/5 - Miscellaneous

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader, unless otherwise stated.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 2018 The University of Manchester Library (UML) has the right to process personal data for archiving and research purposes according to the Act. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Open parts of this collection, and the catalogue descriptions, may contain personal data about living individuals. Some items in this collection may be closed to public inspection in line with the requirements of the DPA. Restrictions/closures of specific items will be indicated in the catalogue.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The records were retained by the Centre until transferred to the University archives on 14 March 2014.


Accruals expected


John Harris, Margaret Brazier, Anthony Dyson and Mary Lobjoit, "Medical ethics in Manchester" Journal of Medical Ethics September 1987.

Geographical Names