Newcastle Law School

Staff Profile

Dr Sarah Morley



Sarah joined Newcastle Law School in 2016, having previously taught at Durham University. Her principal teaching and research interests lie in the fields of company and corporate law, and more specifically mergers and acquisitions. She completed her PhD at Durham Law School in 2017 (titled: 'Takeover Litigation: the US does it more than the UK, but why and does it matter?). Sarah previously obtained an LLM, with Distinction, also from Durham University.

Sarah is the recipient of several competitive funding awards, including significant external funding from the Wellcome Trust for the project ‘Regulating the Tyrell Corporation’ and the prestigious Durham Law School Scholarship.

Sarah was the co-convenor of a series of events for the funded project ‘Regulating the Tyrell Corporation’ and established a new network of expertise, which considers future technological developments in AI and synthetic biology. You can find more information about the activities for this project here and here (the Humanities Research Institute, see "current projects"). A future goal for this group is to assist in developing proposals for appropriate regulation for the responsible development, operation, and disposal of the technologies by multinational corporations. Follow the project on twitter @novel_beings

Work stemming from this project, conducted with Sarah’s colleague Dr. David Lawrence, was published as evidence and cited in recommendations made by the House of Lords AI Committee. 


PhD, University of Durham 2018

Master of Laws, University of Durham 2012

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Current Roles and responsibilities:

UG Deputy Selector


Society of Legal Scholars

Institute of Commercial and Corporate Law, Durham University



Sarah has a unique research background; her PhD studies focused on the divergent practices in takeover litigation in the UK and US. Whilst she continues to pursue research in this area the work engendered an interest in the proper regulation of takeover practices more generally and the ways in which the law can better protect stakeholders. This lends itself to Sarah's wider study of corporate governance, and the means by which we improve the accountability of corporations generally. Her research for the Wellcome Trust funded project, for example, explores how we might control a companies behaviour when developing new AI and synthetic technologies.

The Wellcome Trust project titled ‘Regulating the Tyrell Corporation’ focusses on biotechnology and advances in AI which promise the advent of new forms of life, maybe even 'conscious', reasoning creatures as intelligent and as sapient as Homo sapiens. It seems likely that these products will be created by public companies and in particular multinational corporations, which are investing heavily in the relevant areas. At present no regulation exists which addresses the responsibility of companies in the development, operation, and disposal of these technologies; and instead they are left in many cases to self-regulate their actions. No other field is developing so quickly whilst being as under-supervised as this, and the potential consequences are such that it presents an urgent problem. It is proving a fruitful area in which to expand corporate law scholarship, by taking traditional norms and applying them to this new scenario. This research has also lead to an opportunity to establish a new interdisciplinary field and network of expertise, in which company law plays a major role. Join and follow the network on twitter @novel_beings

Research funding (selected grants):

£29,925                     Wellcome Trust, 2017, Principal Investigator

£29,700                     Durham Law School Scholarship, 2013


Morley S, Lawrence DR ‘Regulating Replicants: Moral Responsibility and Decision-making in Novel Beings,’ World Congress of Bioethics, International Association of Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia USA (June 2020) Online


Morley S, ‘Takeover Regulation: from Shareholder Primacy to Stakeholder Values,’ Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference, Preston (September 2019)


Morley S, ‘Morally Significant Technology and Corporate Social Responsibility Statements,’ Regulating the Tyrell Corporation, Wellcome Collection, London (October 2018)

Morley S, ‘Regulating the Corporation and Morally Significant Technologies’ Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference, London (September 2018)

Morley S, Lawrence DR ‘Regulating Intelligence: The Challenge of Consciousness in New Forms of Life’ European Conference on Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal (August 2018)

Morley S, Lawrence, DR, ‘Regulating Intelligence: The Challenge of Consciousness in New Forms of Life’ Neuroethics Network, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Épinière, Paris, France (June 2018) Invited

Morley S ‘Takeover Litigation: The US does it more than the UK, but why and does it matter?’ Trinity College Dublin Law Student Colloquium, Dublin (February 2017) Winner of best paper

Morley S ‘Social Media Challenges in Takeover Bids’ Durham Law School Institute of Commercial and Company Law Postgraduate Conference, Durham. (June 2016)

Morley S ‘The different roles played by litigation during hostile takeovers in the UK and US: explanations, impacts on stakeholders, and implications for regulatory reform’ Durham Law School Institute of Commercial and Company Law Postgraduate Conference, Durham. (June 2014)


Sarah currently teaches on the following modules:

  • Corporate Governance and Corporate Finance
  • Company Law
  • Contract Law
  • Introduction to Business Law
  • Wider Academic Skills Programme