LW6011 - Medical Law

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will develop a critical understanding of medical law in England and Wales. The module will examine the legal framework that governs medical treatment and will focus on statute and common law. In addition the module will consider key ethical issues raised by these matters, including the influence of professional guidance in this area.

This module covers the following topics:
1. Relationship between law and ethics; resolution of disputes other than by way of clinical negligence, for example contract and judicial review
2. Clinical Negligence
3. Medical Confidentiality.
4. Consent to medical treatment.
5. The Beginning of Life.
(a) contraception
(b) pre-natal negligence
6. Abortion
7. The End of Life.
(a) Neonaticide;
(b) Euthanasia and assisted suicide
(c) Treatment withdrawal

How will I learn on this module?

You will lean through lectures, seminars and independent learning. You will be supported by a teaching and learning plan/ module handbook which provides an outline of the activities (independent study/reading, informal practice assessments) throughout the module.

Directed learning will centre on twenty four lectures which will introduce the fundamental principles of medical law that will enable you to prepare twelve seminar exercises. The lectures and seminars will be supported by learning materials which will be made available via the module dedicated e-Learning (eLP) site and will include guided reading using electronic reading lists, recorded lectures and self-evaluative tasks.

Independent learning will centre on you with reference to the module materials identifying further reading and research to provide deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of medical law

You will be provided with detailed feedback on your formative and summative assessment for this module. The feedback on your formative assessment will form part of your reflective development and can be utilised in the preparation of the module summative assessment. You are therefore able to demonstrate self-reflection and reflective practice within the module and on the programme as a whole, with feedback of appropriate quality and the positive application of formative feedback on learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The University is well-placed to support you in learning and research with an excellent library and teaching facilities, access to on-line legal databases and resources and appropriate software.

This module is designed and will be managed by your designated Module Tutor who will be responsible for guiding you in your engagement and learning on the module. Academic support will include feedback from tutors during large and small group sessions. All relevant materials and instructions will be accessible on-line through the module eLP site, maintained by your Module Tutor, who will also provide updates on issues of current legal significance and respond to questions via the module’s discussion board on the eLP site. Extensive use is therefore made of the eLP at module level to facilitate discussions between you and your Module Tutor, to provide materials, make announcements and to highlight recent developments in the law. You may communicate with your Module Tutor or Seminar Tutor by e-mail or telephone or in person in your large or small group session and are encouraged to make contact if you encounter any difficulties relating to any aspect of the module.

Academic support is also available through summative and formative feedback on the examination and a module teaching and learning handbook detailing delivery structure and any University requirements. At programme level you will be supported by the Programme Leader and a Guidance Tutor who will provide pastoral support throughout the module and the programme as a whole.

The Programme Administration and Student Liaison teams are responsible for the non-academic administration of the module, such as returning your marked examination and recording your marks. They will contact you throughout the duration of your module with details about the assessment date and other issues.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
At the end of the module you will have:

Developed knowledge and a critical understanding of medical law, ethics and professional guidance in England and Wales, including an appreciation of how international human rights instruments have impacted upon this area. The module combines a practical approach with an in-depth study of Medical Law.
You will develop a critical awareness of current medico-legal issues, ethical and professional considerations and developments in a healthcare context.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

Have developed your skills

• Developed an ability to conduct rigorous and independent legal research in the area of medical law and ethics, selecting, using and applying the relevant material to identify issues, construct rational arguments and present accurate legal information clearly, coherently and substantiated by authority.

• Developed an ability to reflect on and critically evaluate medical law and ethics and be able to identify solutions to a range of legal, practical and ethical problems associated with treatment decision-making.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• Gained a critical awareness of the legal and ethical issues surrounding healthcare treatment in English law and reflected on how those legal and ethical values align with your own personal and professional values.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will be achieved by group discussion, self-test questions and an opportunity to submit mock examination questions. Answers to mock examination questions will be provided on the module eLP and your tutor will give oral and written feedback to you as required.

Summative Assessment will be undertaken on an individual basis by way of an exam which constitutes 100% of the marks for this module. This exam aims to encourage a deep and critical approach to learning, developing an ability to think widely about the issues presented within the module and to explore these in line with directed and independent learning.

The specific nature of the exam may vary and may include essay and problem based questions. Assessment criteria are provided to enable you to understand what is expected of you and how you will be judged on your performance.

You will be provided with appropriate written or oral feedback (as appropriate), and, as part of your reflective development, such feedback can be utilised in the preparation of subsequent module assessments on the programme.





Module abstract

Medical law is still evolving. It is a myriad of many things; law, public opinion, ethics, and science. This module will examine the law and ethics surrounding the healthcare profession. You may be familiar with some medico-legal events featured in recent news events. In this sense, medical law is very topical, often controversial and always ethically questioning. The module will examine, for example, patient consent to treatment; the right to healthcare; doctor/patient confidentiality and physician assisted suicide. It will also consider the law relating to the clinical negligence claim as this is the most usual area of practice for students of medical law.
You will critically engage with research outputs as part of your research-rich learning, drawing from Northumbria’s extensive on-line databases and library facilities. You will be assessed by an exam (100%) which will consolidate your understanding of medical law and develop your skills of critical analysis.

Course info

UCAS Code M101

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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