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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Contemporary Issues in Medical Jurisprudence (LAWS10165)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is designed to engage students with current live issues arising in the field of medical jurisprudence, being a disciplines which sits at the cross-roads between law, medicine and ethics, and which is concerned primarily with legal and social responses to advances in medicine, healthcare, science and related technologies.

The course is deliberately designed to be open and responsive to issues that are current at the time of delivery in any given year. Accordingly, only broad indications as to topics and subject matter can be given is a description such as this. Likely issues to be covered include:

(a) start and end of life
(b) human genetics and biotechnologies
(c) regulation of medical research
(d) human enhancement
(e) gender identity at the intersection of law and medical practice

The main aims of the course are:

- To equip students with deep and highly-responsive critical faculties to address medical and technical advances where the legal response is as yet under-developed or manifestly inadequate
- To expose students to cutting-edge research approaches in medical jurisprudence allied to the work of the School of Law and its Mason Institute in order to develop appropriate skills for a new generation of medical lawyers and ethicists
- To explore new ways of critiquing, understanding and shaping our legal and social responses to advance in medicine, healthcare, science and related technologies.
Course description Given the deliberately open and responsive nature of this course, it would be inappropriate to attempt to give concrete topics. The topics will be chosen with the class in any given year under the oversight and direction of the course teachers. A broad indication of contemporary live topics will be introduced by the course teachers and it will be for students to decide amongst themselves which areas they would like to explore further. Suggestions and proposals will be invited from the students. Group interaction in this process will be encouraged and this will then be used as a means to take learning forward. Groups will be assisted to choose topics, develop materials, prepare to lead on seminar discussions, and to encourage mutual learning. The first few sessions will be led by staff as exemplars of the kinds of critical approaches and insights that can be explored. Skills development is central the course and will form an early part of the course interaction.

Thus, the overall outline of the course will have the following format:

Part 1: Skills development (Seminars 1-4)
1. Introduction: the course, expectations, likely topics and group selection
2. Final topics discussion and selection
3. Discussion of preliminary course handouts from all groups
3. Key skills development in critical thinking: staff-led seminar example
Part 2: Exploring contemporary issues (Seminars 5-10)

The latter half of this course will consist of the student-led group seminars.

Expectations for each student-led ground seminar include:

a. Group-led seminar based on student-prepared course handout and reading material to be distributed in advance (hence topic and group selection in Week 2 and reading material distributed in Week 3)
b. Clear allocation of responsibility within the group for preparation and delivery of seminar (decided and managed by group)
c. Full participation in discussion by all, encouraged through participation assessment via student blogs (x 4)
d. Clear objectives and conclusions to be prepared by group
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None, but successful completion of Fundamental Issues in Medical Jurisprudence is highly recommended.
Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.

**Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.**
Priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Law department, and it is highly unlikely that there will be additional spaces for general exchange students & independent study abroad students to enrol; we will look into this on a case-by-case basis in September/January. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space.

These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.

There are no prerequisites, though Fundamental Issues in Medical Jurisprudence (LAWS10166) is highly recommended.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment will consist of:

1. Group presentation worth 70% of the overall mark, which will involve leading the class on one seminar topic (to be chosen by the group). Assessment will evaluate:
- Content and structure of the seminar itself, including advance reading material distributed by way of handout;
- Clarity of division of labour and responsibility of tasks within the group;
- An individual reflective written statement (1 - 2 pages) on the division of labour and team work experience, showing an ability to distil clear conclusions from the experience.

2. Individual written blogs (total of two, each comprising 750-1000 words), worth 30% of the overall mark, which will relate to each seminar topic and will be maintained over the semester. Students have the choice to decide which two out of the six student-led group seminars will form the basis of their four blogs (Seminars 5-10).
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. 1. Knowledge and Sources of Law:

    - To identify both likely areas of law relevant to contemporary issues in medical jurisprudence as well as gaps or instances of inappropriate or over-regulation
    - To build on understandings of fundamental areas of medical jurisprudence such as consent, confidentiality, human rights etc
    - To consider international dimensions, including the growing importance of European regulation and international agreements
    - To explore the limits of law in discerning appropriate social responses to new medical and technical advances.
  2. 2. Subject-specific Skills:

    - To develop and apply critical thinking informed by ethical and social science analysis
    - To apply said critical thinking to comment upon and critique of law┬┐s role and appropriate responses to contemporary issues in medical jurisprudence
  3. 3. General Transferable Intellectual Skills:

    - Independent critical analysis
    - Interdisciplinary understandings of common problems
    - Problem-solving through reasoned and well-justified ethical and legal discourse
    - Synthesis of complex information and ability to subject to informed critique
    - To foster imaginative ways of unpacking and responding to contemporary issues in ways that do not necessarily follow or merely apply existing paradigms or legal constructs.
  4. 4. Key Personal Skills:

    - Written and oral skills necessary to deliver the above
    - Group working and interaction
    - Intellectual development through interdisciplinary engagement
    - Autonomous working and independent critical capacity
  5. 5. Subject-specific Legal and Ethical Values:

    - autonomy
    - critical self-reflection
    - consideration of others
    - academic integrity
    - healthy scepticism
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsContemp Med
Course organiserDr Catriona McMillan
Course secretaryMiss Robyn Blyth
Tel: (01316) 514550
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