MEDICAL LAW I - 2019/0

Module code: LAW3089

Module Overview

The purpose of Medical Law I is to consider the ethical issues and the legal consequences of decisions taken by the medical profession.  The first part of the course deals with ethical dilemmas in medical law.  The second part looks at the legal and ethical issues that relate to life, death and medical treatment.  All of these topics will be considered with the Human Rights Act 1998 in mind so as to consolidate existing student learning.

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

PETERS Katy (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 122

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 6

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the Global Engagement Office exchange and study abroad team.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Moral Deliberations and the dilemmas of medical practice (ethics)

  • Professional practice

  • A right to medical care and treatment and the allocation of scarce resources

  • Consent I: Competence and incompetence

  • Consent II: Informed decisions and the refusal of treatment

  • The beginnings of life: Scientific advances and medical technology

  • The beginnings of life: Abortion and the treatment of neonates

  • Death and Dying I: Diagnosis of death

  • Death and Dying II: Easing the passing

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination 2 HOUR EXAM 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate, in accordance with the learning outcomes, their acquired knowledge, critical awareness of the key principles and policies studied in this Module, their ability to evaluate and also to apply their acquired knowledge and critical awareness to the resolution of hypothetical legal problems.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • 2 hour written examination during the exam period for Semester 1 which will require the students to answer two questions comprising one essay and one problem.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive verbal feedback on their performance during tutorials.  In addition they will undertake a written formative assessment, during Semester 1, on which they will receive individual written feedback and group verbal feedback. This written formative assessment will be designed to give the students practice in writing an answer to either an essay or problem question which is similar in style to what they can expect in their summative assessment.

The assessment method for each module has been selected to test a variety of key skills, competences and outcomes as required by QAA. As such, assessment method cannot be changed. Reasonable adjustment may be made on application subject to ALS approval AND only where such adjustment still allows for the required skills, key competences and outcomes to be assessed at an equivalent level.

Module aims

  • To provide students with an understanding of the way in which medical law operates in the UK, and how it compares to other jurisdictions where appropriate
  • To critically assess the ethical dilemmas in medical law in relation to all the substantive areas of law and practice studied
  • To be aware of the professional guidance in relation to all the substantive areas of study and how this relates to the legal and ethical issues
  • To identify and critically assess the law regulating abortion and assisted reproduction
  • To understand the nature of wrongful life and its consequences in medical law
  • To critically assess the ambit and nature of consent to treatment in medical law
  • To critically evaluate the definition of death used in medical law
  • To consider the ethical and legal dilemmas in end of life decision making

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Critically evaluate the central principles, concepts and history of the areas of Medical law, ethics and the principles of professional practice studied in this Module, and the relationship between them, with particular emphasis of the tensions which emerge KCT
2 Critically analyse and evaluate the content of the legal areas as studied in this Module and the ethical dilemmas posed in relation to them with a particular ability to analyse the content of the law in areas where there is tension or a lack of clarity in light of the ethical and professional debate (C, K, T) KCT
3 Critically engage with and evaluate the sources of Medical law, including common law, statute, the law of the EU and ECHR, and international law and the relationship between them KCT
4 Critically engage with the scholarly debate on the ethics which underpin the areas of Medical law studied in this Module KCT
5 Critically engage in discussions regarding competing policy concerns and the ethical and professional values which inform and develop the areas of Medical law studied in this Module, and  the relationship between them, in order to be able to propose and defend solutions KCPT
6 Critical engage in scholarly debate regarding medical law and ethics (in relation to the areas studied in this Module), critically analysing the major tendencies within legal scholarship and the relationship between them KCPT
7 Critically engage with and apply knowledge of the primary and secondary legal authorities, ethical models and professional guidance to solve complex problems and answer complex essay questions which seek to resolve tensions in the competing goals and content of Medical law in the areas studied in this Module CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

 The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


  • Introduce topics, with particular emphasis on key areas of the syllabus, in lectures - using appropriate visual aids together with other with supporting materials (e.g. news clips)

  • Facilitate a more detailed study of the syllabus through independent study and by preparation of focussed tutorial questions

  • Enhance student’s understanding and critical awareness by group discussion in tutorial

  • Facilitate student’s revision of key areas of law and exam preparation by the submission of written formative coursework (see below) and by interactive revision lectures towards to the end of Semester 1

The learning and teaching methods include:

Lectures (2 hrs x 11 weeks)

Tutorials (1 hr x 6 weeks)

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: LAW3089

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Law LLB (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with Criminology LLB (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with International Relations LLB (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law (JD Pathway) LLB (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.