Professor Ken Mason touched the lives of many people during his remarkable life. If you would like to leave a message of condolence in memory of Ken, please do so below.

  1. Very sorry to hear of the passing of a much admired academic and above-all a much cherished friend to many. Although I did not have the pleasure of meeting Professor Mason, I was honoured to be the first intern at the Institute named in his honour. His contributions to medical law will be long-remembered. RIP.

  2. Neil Walker

    Ken was my first ‘next door neighbour’ in the Law School 31 years ago, and always a great source of wit, wisdom and wine (for the non-gin drinker). His kindness shone through, and made the Edinburgh corridors a much more welcoming place for the new boy from the West. To my regret, I saw much less of him after these early years, but, like many others, I retained a great admiration and fondness for him. Ken the man will be as long-remembered as will his contribution to medical law.

  3. Ken’s academic writing radiated thoughtfulness, moderation, and a humility that belied his great learning, without sacrificing strength of argument. This was perhaps particularly true when he tackled controversial areas (such as troubled pregnancies). I’ll remember him every time I dip back into his monograph on The Troubled Pregnancy (which will be often) and his famous textbook (a constant presence on my desk). My students will be encouraged to read his work for years to come – not just for his insightful argument, but for the humanity with which he argued. RIP.

  4. A pity, Ken, that you were bowled out just shy of your century, but what a marvellous and memorable innings, which brought so much joy to so many.

    it was a pleasure and a privilege to count you as a colleague.

    Condolences to your nearest and dearest.


  5. Niamh Nic Shuibhne

    Such a sharp intellect, such a soft heart. Ken was consistently generous – with ideas; with instruction; and of course with his unfailing and legendary hospitality. An exemplary academic colleague, who loved to teach but also to learn. I have learned from him to stay always curious, and to enjoy any chance for time with dear friends. He leaves a remarkable scholarly and personal legacy; he is much missed.

  6. Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra

    Although I did not have the pleasure of meeting Professor Mason, working at the Institute named after him is a real honour and a source of pride. Colleagues at the Institute continue to keep his remarkable legacy alive, and though he may no longer be with us, his memory lives on in our academic work and vision.

  7. Professor Mason was- among many other things- one of the major pioneers in aviation crash survivability research, the last of his generation. He was also the model for the type of scholar I one day aspire to be. He was such a towering but approachable eminence that it seems so unthinkable that he is gone. I learned of his death just today as I was trying to find a way to get in touch so I could say ‘hello’ when I visit Edinburgh in a few weeks.

    As his obituary stated, he was a mentor to decades worth of researchers, clinicians and scholars. In a small way, I can count myself in those ranks. He was retiring “for a bit” the last time I spoke with him but he took the time to answer yet another round of questions and provide me with his own personal hard copies of some of his papers which I could not obtain otherwise. His response was one of charm and self-effacing collegiality:
    “You are,in fact, quite lucky time wise as I am in the process of clearing my office on retirement; another few days and all the material might have been binned!!

    Let me know if there are any missing that you simply must have and I will do another search – though I doubt if there are any that merit that accolade!”

    The papers he sent me are cherished mementos of a great man who did more for this world than most. A lot of us would not be where we are without the jovial and warm guiding input of Professor Mason. The saying goes that no man is truly gone so long as he is remembered. In that case, Professor Mason is still with us and will remain so even though his not physically here.

    To absent comrades. May we meet again some day. *lifts a glass of gin*

  8. I didn’t know Ken well, but we corresponded from time to time and I was hugely honoured to speak at the opening of the Mason Institue. Ken’s contribution to the discipline of medical law was foundational and ground-breaking. Despite this, he was the most modest of men, and his interest in and commitment to the careers of junior colleagues was always enthusiastic and genuine. He was an inspiration and an example to us all.

  9. We are very sorry to hear about Ken’s death – he was one of the foremost academics of his generation – he inspired many of us at the Liverpool Health Law & Regulation Unit and his contributions to medical law will be long–remembered.

  10. Whilst I didn’t know Ken well, his wit, integrity and approachability were legendary. I was much influenced by his research as, I am sure, medical law students will be into the future.

  11. Prof. Ken Mason was such an inspiration to me as a young professor of comparative medical law in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Accessible and proffering wise counsel, (but not without some wit), he was particularly helpful in sensitive areas of the law such as abortion, prenatal testing and reproductive sights. Unbeknownst to most, he was also my “white knight”, intervening at meetings or social venues when he thought I was being wrongly besieged. A true gentleman, friend, and scholar – a rare breed – oh, that we could live up to the example he set!

  12. Few of us are lucky enough in life to encounter someone whose interest, kindness, friendship, and intellect are a transformative influence – and fundamentally affect how we view the world, and what we set out to accomplish. Ken was such a man, and his loss is deeply felt. I feel humbled and honoured to have counted him as a friend, mentor and colleague, and he will forever hold a special place in my heart. I will remember our times together with great fondness and joy, and pray that some day I can hope, in some small way, to live up to his example.

  13. Professor Mason was a huge influence throughout my career in medical law, not only in his extensive writings but also on a personal level in his kind but fair examination of my PhD thesis, numerous interesting discussions about post mortem practice and organ retention, and one particularly memorable and wide-ranging dinner conversation covering the expanse of medical law developments in Ireland. He was always generous with his time and shared his expertise willingly. Although I did not know him well, I was fortunate enough to have experienced his kindness, professional courtesy, vast intellect and wit and I offer my sincere condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

    Ar dheis De go raibh a anam. (Irish blessing)

  14. Ken’s work has been hugely influential on me, as an undergraduate, a PhD student, and as an academic.

    Many years ago, when I was a young academic, I was asked by Ken to give a talk on the Tony Bland case. As the medical law experts reading these messages will know, Mr Bland was a victim of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster and had been in a persistent vegetative state for some time. The English Court of Appeal had authorised the removal of his feeding tubes so he could die in peace, and the case was in the news. I duly prepared my talk, assuming that I would be talking to medical practitioners. It was only when I arrived at the venue in Edinburgh that I discovered that the audience were devout Christians – and they all thought that the court’s decision was an appalling one. I received a rough ride with much heckling!
    Ken chaired the meeting and had to intervene to encouraged the audience to hear and consider a view with which they had little sympathy. It was characteristic of him that his gentle persuasion ensured that the audience let me speak. I have never forgotten his kindness.

  15. I feel very honoured that I got to know Ken so well in his last few years at the Law School. I was his chief letter poster, coffee-maker and general errand runner. I loved our little chats in his office and he gave me a lot of great advice and helped me through some tough times. I loved being able to make him laugh when I regaled him on a Monday morning with my tales of the weekends events and updated him on what was happening on Strictly Come Dancing. Ken was obviously an absolutely amazing academic, but I feel like I knew Ken in a different way. He was my friend. He helped me figure things out and I hope that our little chats and giggles helped him too. He was such a gentlemen and made me feel special by reminding me of who I was. I will miss him loads, he was a legend.

  16. Professor Lesley McAra

    I was so very saddened by the death of our wonderful colleague Ken.

    Ken bestrode the Law School like a colossus, hugely generous in spirit and intellect. He cared deeply about his students, he was a great mentor and friend, he was the consummate academic citizen.

    Best memories: legendary parties, umpiring at the Faculty Cricket Matches, serving the largest drams ever!

    To be loved, what better epitaph.

  17. Prof Mason was an inspiring academic and a wonderful person. I was lucky enough to be a student of his 10 years ago. Like many before me, he had such a positive influence on me as a student and as an academic. His generous spirit and presence in the field of medical law, and beyond, will be sorely missed. I feel privileged to have known him.

  18. Professor Mason’s scholarship in medical law is acknowledged around the common law world. His co-authored Mason and McCall Smith, Law and Medical Ethics, remains a pivotal reference and legacy for scholars and medical law and ethics teaching. Our Law School and students were privileged to have two visits and lectures from Professor Mason.

  19. Back in the early 80s I was as a youthful lecturer in Edinburgh a near neighbour of Ken’s on the fourth floor of Old College. He seemed to be a constant source of energy and fun, as well as the latest cricket information. There was a cartoon postcard pinned to the door of his office, proclaiming that the occupant was too busy to die; the memory of that has stayed with me over the years. In the early 2000s I gave a lecture at UCL, and in conversation afterwards my distinguished professorial host asked me about this promising Edinburgh youngster in medical law called Mason (the professor had been reading Ken’s writings around that time on McFarlane v Tayside Health Board and Rees v Darlington Health Board). He was stunned when I informed him that Ken was in his mid-80s at the time; he had simply assumed from the bravura writing style that the author was a young Turk fighting his way to the top of the medical law tree. Another thing I remember from Ken’s writings at the time is the comment somewhere that the wrongful pregnancy cases would be decided differently if a woman was – or even women were – appointed to the House of Lords (as it then was). An inspiration to remember as I begin to approach the age he was when first I met him and he entered his third – or was it his fourth? – career.

  20. I only heard Prof Mason lecture once, but it was easily apparent that he was a titan in his field. I do remember that he and I would arrive at Old College at approximately the same time and we’d trade hellos. While Old College may be a monolith of stone and iron, it is the people that made the law school come alive and Prof Mason was one of those whose presence and talent helped make the law school what it is today.

  21. Emeritus Professor Kath Melia

    I was saddened to hear of Ken’s death and find it hard to imagine law and medical ethics in Edinburgh without his presence and great intellect, carried with such charm. I first met Ken through the Edinburgh Medical Group in the late 1970s. Years later, during a coffee break at a Law School Conference, he showed generous interest in a book proposal I had on health care ethics. We had a lively discussion about the section which argued for ‘health care ethics’ rather than continued turf wars over medical ethics/nursing ethics/social work ethics. ‘I am not sure there is much mileage in that!’, he laughed then asked if he could take the copy away. Days later he sent me a long letter with detailed comment, mostly very supportive, aside for the turf wars! He ended with a typically self-effacing line – ‘Do remember this is just the view of an elderly medic and can be ignored’. Without being asked, he had written a letter that I could send to the publisher in support of the book. I sent it to the commissioning editor, who used it to good effect. This was typical of Ken’s generosity. I miss him.

  22. Lives of great men all remind us
    We can make our lives sublime,
    And departing, leave behind us
    Footprints on the sands of time.
    (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

    Deeply saddened by Professor Mason’s passing, but honoured to have known him.

  23. Speaking to Ken about cricket was always an education, a lovely combination of obscure detail and an ecumenical outlook. A lovely man with extraordinary energy right to the end. His capacity for making younger colleagues (which practically everyone was…) feel welcome and part of the community was deeply appreciated.

  24. I only became aware of Professor Mason’s death today and am greatly saddened by this news. Professor Mason was an incredible teacher, and a source of constant amusement! Professor Mason provided me with great support and direction during my LL.M in 2008-2009, and provided invaluable guidance for my dissertation. He was a class act and will be sorely missed.

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