Dr Heather Gowans is a Researcher in Law at the Centre for Health Law and Emerging Technologies (HeLEX) at the University of Oxford.  Her work focuses largely on legal and regulatory issues concerning data protection, confidentiality and privacy.

Prior to joining the centre in 2008, Heather qualified and practised law as a barrister after obtaining a DPhil at Oxford. In her academic capacity, she has provided legal support to the ESRC-funded Administrative Data Liaison Service (ADLS) and the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) in relation to UK data protection legislation and the legal powers and implications of sharing data. She is currently providing legal support to the IMI funded DIRECT project (DIabetes REsearCh on patient straTification consortium). Heather also remains actively involved in a collaborative publications team within HeLEX.


Recent additions

Journal Article (10)

J Bell, S Aidinlis, H Smith and H Gowans, 'Balancing data subjects' rights and public interest research: Examining the interplay between UK Law, EU Human Rights Law and the GDPR' (2019) 5 European Data Protection Law Review 43
J Kaye, A Phillips, H Gowans and N Shah, 'International Direct-to-Participant (DTP) Genomic Research: The United Kingdom Responses (Country Reports)' (2019) 47 The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 582
M Mourby, E Mackey, M Elliot and H Gowans and others, 'Are 'pseudonymised' data always personal data? Implications of the GDPR for administrative data research in the UK' (2018) 34 Computer Law & Security Review: The International Journal of Technology Law and Practice 222
ISBN: 0267-3649
M Elliot, K O'Hara, C Raab and H Gowans and others, 'Functional anonymisation: Personal data and the data environment' (2018) 34 Computer Law & Security Review: The International Journal of Technology Law and Practice 204
ISBN: 0267-3649
J Bell, S Wallace, M Mourby and H Gowans, 'Lawful disclosure of administrative data for research purposes in the UK' (2018) 2 Journal of Data Protection & Privacy
J Kaye, N Kanellopoulou, N Hawkins and H Gowans, 'Can I access my personal genome? The current legal position in the UK' (2013) 22 Medical Law Review 64
P Boddington, L Curren, J Kaye and H Gowans and others, 'Consent forms in genomics: the difference between law and practice' (2011) 18 European Journal of Health Law 491
L Curren, P Boddington, H Gowans and N Hawkins, 'Identifiability, Genomics and UK Data Protection Law' (2010) 17 European Journal of Health Law 329

Other (2)

H Gowans and J Bell, 'Legal Issues for ADRN Users' (2016) ADRN

Chapter (2)

C Dibben, M Elliot, H Gowans and D Lightfoot, 'The data linkage environment' in K Harron, H Goldstein, C Dibben (ed), Methodical Developments in Data Linkage (Wiley 2016)
ISBN: 978-1-118-74587-8
N Hawkins, N Kanellopoulou, J Kaye and H Gowans, 'Ownership of Biomedical Information in Biobanks' in G Pascuzzi, U Izzo, M Mailotti (ed), Comparative Issues in the Governance of Research Biobanks (Springer 2013)
ISBN: 978-3642331152

Internet Publication (1)

H Gowans, M Elliot, C Dibben and D Lightfoot, 'Accessing and sharing administrative data and the need for data security' (2012) ADLS

Report (1)

J Kaye, P Boddington, J De Vries and H Gowans, Ethical, Legal and Social Issues Arising from the Use of GWAS in Medical Research (Wellcome Trust 2009)

Research programmes

Research Interests

Data protection legislation, governance

Research projects

  • ADLS (Administrative Data Liaison Service)
  • ADRN (Administrative Data Research Network)

  • DIRECT (DIabetes REsearCh on patient straTification consortium)

Research projects