About me

Contact Dr Allan McCay at:    amcc4688  at   gmail.com

Criminal Responsibility, Behavioural Genetics and Crime, Sentencing, Neurolaw,  Philosophy of Punishment, Free Will,  Neurotechnology, Artificial Intelligence and the Law, Behavioural Legal Ethics

I teach at the University of Sydney Foundation Program and the University of Sydney Law School.  I am a member of the Management Committee of the Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence at the University of Sydney, and a senior researcher at the Centre for Agency, Values, and Ethics, at Macquarie University.

In addition to the law schools of the University of Sydney (foundations of law, criminal law) and the University of New South Wales (academic writing for postgraduate legal research), I have also taught at the Business School at the University of Sydney (commercial transactions,  corporations law, stock market and derivatives law).

I have 20 years teaching experience including pre-undergraduate, undergraduate, postgraduate course work, PhD supervision, and training in a professional context. I have also presented my work to executive government, and to the judiciary through the National Judicial College of Australia.


I trained and qualified as a solicitor in Scotland, but a part of my traineeship was spent with a Belgian law firm, and I was awarded the Robert Schuman Scholarship to complete a further part of my training at the European Parliament in Luxembourg. 

I have also practised in Hong Kong, with the global law firm, Baker & McKenzie where I was an Associate in the commercial litigation department, and have been admitted to practice in the Australian jurisdictions New South Wales and Tasmania.


I completed my PhD at the University of Sydney in 2013, and my thesis considered the ethical and legal merits of behavioural genetics based pleas in mitigation in sentencing. I am interested in free will, philosophy of punishment, neuroethics, and the law’s response to neuroscience, neurotechnology and artificial intelligence. I am also interested in behavioural legal ethics.

I have been a visiting researcher at the philosophy departments of  the University of California, Riverside, the University of Stirling, and also the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford University.

Academic writing

I have published on behavioural genetics and sentencing in The Indigenous Law Bulletin, on behavioural genetics and the criminal law more generally in Current Issues in Criminal Justice, on free will in an edited collection entitled Free Will in Criminal Law and Procedure and on sociolegal history in the journal Current Issues in Criminal Justice.

I am working on a book entitled Behavioural Genetics, Moral Agency and Retributive Sentencing: The Case for Mitigation. I am also co-editing a book entitled Free Will and the Law: New Perspectives. Both books will be published with Routledge and in the latter book I develop a theory of mitigation. In addition to this,  I am also co-editing a book entitled Neuro-interventions and the Law: Regulating Human Mental Capacity which is to be published by Oxford University Press.

I have also written about artificial intelligence and the future of work in a paper entitled The Value of Consciousness and Free Will in a Technological Dystopia.

Popular writing

I have written for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age on the topics of behavioural genetics and sentencing, and neuroscience and the law. I have also written about the free will problem in the context of criminal law for the Huffington Post. For The Conversation, I have written on neuroscience and punishment. My work has been republished in media sources such as The Independent (UK) and the Statesman (India).


I have discussed my research on the radio shows the Philosopher’s Zone (Free Will and the Courts), The Wire (Race-based Discounts in Australia's Justice System?), The Weekly (2SER), and Day Shift (ABC Central Coast).  

Media discussion of my research/ media interviews

The Australian ran a story on my work on behavioural genetics and sentencing  (subscriber-only- Push for Courts to Heed Genetic Disposition to Crime 1 Aug 2013) and I have been interviewed for the Sydney Morning Herald about neurolawI was also interviewed for this story on neurolaw in the Age. A feature article entitled Blame it on the Brain, appears in the Law Society Journal (May 2016) and contains comments from an interview with me.

Creative writing

I wrote a short story that is connected with the free will problem. It is called Our Debt to Vulcan and published in the journal Philament here (full text here). It is inspired by this sculpture by Eduardo Paolozzi.

Research-inspired artwork

Here is an artwork created by the artist Rory for a presentation that I gave on behavioural genetics and sentencing.

Useful links

The Australian Neurolaw Database can be found here.  Neuroethics and the Law is a useful blog for those with a more general interest in neurolaw. I am a co-organiser of the upcoming conference Neuroscience and Society: Ethics, Law and Technology.

Contact:     amcc4688  at   gmail.com