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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Law and Medical Ethics: Start and End of Life Issues (LAWS11259)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaLaw Other subject areaNone
Course website Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe function of the course is to discuss the relationship between the law and the practice of medicine in relation to unique issues arising at the start and end of life. As with the 'fundamentals' course, moral and ethical principles will be emphasized in relation to the legal and medical questions considered.
Reproduction and related technological developments such as genetics research, have featured in many high publicity debates of late. At the end of life, attitudes to death are changing while, at the same time, there have been very significant advances in resuscitation techniques and in the medical capacity to influence the natural process of dying; as a result, the subject of euthanasia now stands very high on the medico-legal agenda. Several controversial areas will be covered, particular importance being laid on current concepts of life, the moral status of the embryo and foetus and medical futility.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please contact the distance learning team at
Additional Costs Students should have regular and reliable access to the Internet. Print consumables are recommended to provide hard copy of some on screen materials.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesPlease contact the distance learning team at
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  No Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Class Delivery Information This course is taught by distance learning.
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course, you will:
1. have a good idea of the legal and ethical conflicts which arise in the practice of modern medicine;
2. understand such concepts as legal personhood, life and death and will be able to evaluate the importance and limitations of autonomy and choice in medical practice;
3. have appraised the concept of medical futility and its application to the euthanasia debate;
4. understand the difficult choices in reproductive technologies;
5. understand the difficulties of apportioning medical resources;
6. and have looked at all these issues in the context of comparative jurisdictions.
Assessment Information
One essay of up to 4,000 words (60%); one individual assignment (20%); contribution to weekly online discussions throughout the semester (20%). Requirements for all module assessment will be outlined to students within the individual modules at the start of each semester.
Special Arrangements
This course is taught by distance learning.
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus 1. Control of fertility
2. Medical termination of pregnancy
3. Human fertilisation and embryology regulation
4. Research & experimentation
5. Diagnosis of death
6. Transplantation
7. Bodies as property
8. Medical futility & advance directives
9. Euthanasia & assisted suicide
10.Healthcare resources & care of the aged
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Gerard Porter
Tel: (0131 6)50 2023
Course secretaryMs Clare Polson
Tel: (0131 6)51 4411
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© Copyright 2013 The University of Edinburgh - 13 January 2014 4:35 am