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Academic Fellow, University of Sydney Law School, University of Sydney

Dr Allan McCay is Deputy Director of The Sydney Institute of Criminology and an Academic Fellow at the University of Sydney Law School where he lectures in Criminal Law and coordinates the Legal Research units. He is President of the Institute of Neurotechnology and Law, and was named by Australasian Lawyer as one of the most influential lawyers of 2021 and again in 2023 for his work on neurotechnology and the law.

He was commissioned by the Law Society of England and Wales to write the report Neurotechnology, law and the legal profession. This world-first consideration of brain-computer interfaces and other forms of neurotechnology was reported by media sources around the world in over 20 countries, including the BBC and The Times. As well as many other neurotech and other publications, Dr McCay is the author of the first peer-reviewed article on the challenges presented by neurotechnology for human rights in Australia.

He is a member of the Australian Human Rights Commission Expert Reference Group on Human Rights and Neurotechnology as well as being a member of Standards Australia’s Brain-computer Interface Committee, the Minding Rights Network, and also an Affilliate Member of Macquarie University's Ethics and Agency Research Centre.

Whilst there has been much recent consideration of how humans should develop or use artificial intelligence Dr McCay has argued for more attention to be payed to the social, ethical and legal issues related to us merging with technology.

He regularly provides comments to the media (television, radio, print and online) including the The BBC, The Washington Post, The Australian, Sky News Arabia, The Indian Express, The Sydney Morning Herald, Radio New Zealand, The ABC and SBS and he is a TEDx speaker as well as speaking at a many other events.

He has published on the implications of developments in neurotechnology for the AI ecosystem and the regulation of AI, as well as on AI and the future of work. In addition to being an Associate Editor of the Journal AI & Society, he has been a judge on Women in AI awards. He is also a member of the Law Society of New South Wales Taskforce on AI & other tools and trends shaping the legal profession and an Affiliate of Auckland University’s Natural, Artificial, and Organisation Intelligence Institute.

Dr McCay trained as a solicitor in Scotland, practised as a commercial litigator with Baker McKenzie in Hong Kong, and has also been admitted to practice in two Australian jurisdictions. His first coedited book Free Will and the Law: New Perspectives is published by Routledge and his second, Neurointerventions and the Law: Regulating Human Mental Capacity is published by Oxford University Press.

Many of his publications focus on criminal law, in particular sentencing in light of developments in behavioural genetics and neuroscience, as well how law might in the future be transformed or challenged by science and emerging technologies.

He has a longstanding interest in the problem of free will which intersects with his interests in both criminal law and tech, and which he has explored in creative works (fiction and photography) as well as more traditional scholarship, and non-fiction for a general audience (including creative non-fiction).

This interest extends to how human decision-making:
1 may be impaired, enhanced or defended,
2 connects to responsibility, blame and punishment,
3 might differ from the decision-making of artificially intelligent agents and
4 could be impacted by a closer connection with technology.


  • –present
    Lecturer, University of Sydney