Jean Frédéric Ménard

Study program:
PhD law
Current affiliation:
University College London

Legal and ethical dilemmas proliferate in the context of neonatal intensive care. Jean Frédéric Ménard is researching whether it is possible to reconcile ethics and the law in the best interests of the child.

Exploring the Challenges of the “Best Interest of the Child” Principle in Neonatology: Perspectives from Comparative Law and Medical Ethics

The overarching purpose of Jean Frédéric’s thesis is to explore and suggest improvements to the way ethical and legal decisions are approached and handled by healthcare professionals in the context of hospital based neonatal care in three different research sites, one in London, England, one in Paris, France and one in Montreal, Canada. His overall theoretical and methodological approach is that of ‘empirical ethics’ as modified to broaden its focus to include legal considerations. The research design of his thesis is a multiple case study aimed at generating a deep qualitative description of normativity in each research site and insight as to how legal and ethical practices could be improved in each site. Jean Frédéric will also pay particular attention to comparing the findings from each research site. Finally, he will offer retrospective and prospective analysis of both the methodological and substantive considerations arising from the research.


Jean Frédéric Ménard began his doctoral studies at University College London’S Faculty of Laws in October 2012. His research project is titled "Exploring the Challenges of the ‘Best Interest of the Child’ Principle in Neonatology: Perspectives from Comparative Law and Medical Ethics."

Jean Frédéric holds a BA in philosophy (Université Laval, 2001) and law degrees from McGill University (BCL / LLB, 2005) and the University of Oxford (Mansfield College, BCL, 2012). While studying at McGill, he was a research assistant to Dean Nicholas Kasirer and Professor Roderick A. Macdonald. He was also a teaching assistant in the Foundations and Legal Writing and Methodology courses, as well as the interim editor-in-chief of the Revue québécoise de droit international. At Oxford, Jean Frédéric focused on medical law and ethics, as well as on jurisprudence and legal theory.

Upon graduating from McGill, Jean Frédéric served as law clerk to the Honourable Justice Louise Charron of the Supreme Court of Canada. He has been a member of the Quebec Bar since 2007 and he practised tax law with a prominent Canadian law firm for two years. In 2009, he became the assistant director of the Quebec Research Centre of Private and Comparative Law (now the Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private & Comparative Law), where he supervised several research projects. Jean Frédéric lectured on the foundations of law at the Université de Sherbrooke and on the civil law of persons at McGill University. He has published articles and reviews on tax law, international law, and bioethics.

Jean Frédéric also held the position of clinical ethics consultant at the Montreal Children's Hospital, where he developed the strong interest in pediatric ethics that he is now pursuing in his doctoral work.

To unwind, Jean Frédéric enjoys cycling, reading and, above all, exploring London with his wife Elsa and their two sons, Jean-Léon and Aurèle.