Dr Rita D'Alton-Harrison

Personal profile

Rita is a qualified Solicitor and began her professional career working as a litigator in private practice. Rita has 10 years post qualification experience, primarily in class actions, commercial litigation, personal injury and medical negligence. Rita has been in Higher Education since June 2001 and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has also worked as an External Examiner for the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority where she monitored standards on the accredited Legal Practice Course (the Solicitors’ professional qualification). Rita was recruited to help establish Royal Holloway's first LLB programme and new School of Law in 2014 and served as the school's Director of Teaching and Learning (2015-2018). She continues her involvement with new and existing programmes as well as assisting external providers of legal professional programmes. Rita is a contributor to the Law Society's e-learning platform and has written and designed bite-size courses for legal professionals. Rita also serves as a member of the AdvanceHE judging panel and the Society of Legal Scholars Libraries Committee.


Research interests

Rita's research interest is primarily in the field of Human Fertilisation and the impact of scientific advancements on the creation of the 'new family'. Her work has been cited by the Supreme Court of Ireland, the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission. Rita was awarded her PhD at Leicester University in March 2018 with a thesis titled 'Governance of the Legal and Domiciled Parent: International Surrogacy, Border Controls and the 'Disconnected' Family' in which she examined the legal experiences of commissioning couples involved in international surrogacy arrangements as told through documents in case files. The research used a mixed methodology of narrative research, forensic linguistics and thematic analysis.  

Rita is interested in supervising areas focusing on one or more of the school's research themes, for example, Health, Medicine and Regulation, Children, Young People and Families, Social Identity and Divisions, Crime, Law and Justice. In particular, empirical work involving Family, Intimacy, Identity or Legal Regulation of Medical Technology is welcomed.


Rita also has a particular interest in the student experience in Higher Education especially in relation to the effects of widening participation.


Rita's teaching specialisms include the law of tort, evidence, crime, medical law, litigation, personal injury and clinical negligence and advocacy.

Educational background

University of East Anglia: LLB (Hons), Guildford College of Law: Law Society Finals, Law Society: Admission to Roll of Solicitors, University of Hertfordshire: MA (Learning and Teaching in Higher Education)

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