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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Law and Medical Ethics: Fundamentals in Consent and Negligence (LAWS11260)

This course will be closed from 31 July 2018

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe primary function of this module is to gain a solid grounding in the 'fundamentals' of medical jurisprudence (eg: the central and pervasive concepts and principles relating to consent, negligence, confidentiality and mental competence, among others), and discuss the relationship between the law, ethics, and the practice of medicine. The law must be founded on sound moral and ethical principles, but the two are not always necessarily the same; moreover, medicine is, in many ways, running in advance of legal precedent, and constantly throwing out new and more difficult ethical challenges.

Several controversial areas will be covered, particular importance being laid on current concepts of consent to and refusal of medical treatment, patient confidentiality, human rights, medical negligence, genetics, public health and mental health.
Course description 1. Ethics, law & medicine
2. Professional regulation, healthcare access & human rights
3. Consent to treatment
4. Refusal & withdrawal of consent
5. Negligence 1: Fundamentals
6. Negligence 2: Evidence, defences, remedies & issues
7. Confidentiality
8. Genetics & genetic technologies
9. Public health & product liability
10.Mental health
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 must have regular and reliable access to the internet.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
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 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 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 assessments will be outlined to students within the individual modules at the start of each semester.
Feedback Students can expect to receive timely feedback on their assessments
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. articulate and comment critically upon the fundamental legal and ethical principles and concepts that inform and influence the practice of modern medicine
  2. reflect upon the role that concepts such as personhood, paternalism and autonomy have on health care professional duties, as well as on patient rights
  3. critically evaluate the central position of consent/refusal in medical care
  4. effectively assess the current systems of compensation for medical negligence and propose reforms, where necessary
  5. constructively criticise the current safeguards, limitations and protections relating to confidentiality, genetics and mental health, and the conflicts that existing regulations and requirements create.
Reading List
JK Mason and GT Laurie, Mason and McCall-Smith's Law and Medical Ethics, 9th Edition, Oxford University Press, 2013.

A list of key module readings will be available in advance of the module. Detailed reading lists are then available each week.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop their skills and abilities in:

1. Research and enquiry, through e.g. selecting and deploying appropriate research techniques;
2. Personal and intellectual autonomy, e.g. developing the ability to independently assess the relevance and importance of primary and secondary sources;
3. Communication, e.g. skills in summarising and communicating information and ideas effectively in written form;
4. Personal effectiveness, e.g. working constructively as a member of an online community;
5. Students will also develop their technical/practical skills, throughout the module, e.g. in articulating, evidencing and sustaining a line of argument, and engaging in a convincing critique of another's arguments.
Special Arrangements This course is taught by distance learning.
Additional Class Delivery Information This course is taught by distance learning.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Gerard Porter
Tel: (0131 6)50 2023
Course secretaryMs Clare Polson
Tel: (0131 6)51 9704
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