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Module Code - Title:


Year Last Offered:


Hours Per Week:













Grading Type:


Prerequisite Modules:

Rationale and Purpose of the Module:

The aim of this module is to enable students engage in critical analysis of contemporary challenges which lie at the intersection of law, ethics, and medicine. This module is designed to provide an appropriate introduction to the subject for students with no previous familiarity with medical law, while by way of recommended reading and further study, allowing students who have already been introduced to the relevant areas of law, to enhance their knowledge and understanding. The module will enable students to recognise and analyse the legal and ethical challenges arising in medical law. It will equip students with an understanding of what the law currently is and what legal principles arise in day-to-day clinical practice. The student will critically engage with literature on topics such as organ transplantation, euthanasia, and the duty of confidentiality. Furthermore, there is a significant comparative law element in this module. This comparative element ensures that the student appreciates the range of legal and ethical approaches which can ultimately influence and shape the legal framework for medical law in any given jurisdiction. Overall, students will advance their analytical skills and develop their capacity to reflect critically on contemporary challenges in medical law and ethics.


- Introduction to Medical Law and Ethics - Consent (Autonomy, Capacity, Informed Consent) - Confidentiality and Privacy - Clinical Negligence - Healthcare Decisions for Children and Young People - Regulating Reproduction (Surrogacy, Donor Assisted Human Reproduction, Abortion) - Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide - Palliative Sedation and Treatment Withdrawal - Patient Autonomy at the End of Life: Advance Care Directives and DNR's - Organ Transplantation - The Role and Application of Bioethics

Learning Outcomes:

Cognitive (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis)

On completion of this module a student will be able to: - Critically analyse legal and ethical issues in medical law, using comparative study of legal authority where relevant - Locate the role and impact of human rights in the context of medical law and ethics - Critically analyse the principal source materials of medical law and ethics, including national statutes, European and international law reports, treaties, directives and other relevant materials as appropriate - Evaluate the arguments made by policy makers and academic commentators about the relevant law - Apply bioethical theories to legally and ethically challenging scenarios in healthcare - Analyse decision-making in different contexts including the beginning and end of life - Examine the conflict between medical paternalism and the right of autonomy - Outline the meaning and role of 'competence' as it applies to adults and children - Assess the implications of the applicable law for the provision of healthcare - Develop a rounded knowledge of the legal framework for contemporary challenges in healthcare

Affective (Attitudes and Values)

On completion of this module a student will be able to: - Understand the impact of the law on patients, practitioners, and society - Appreciate the relevant, social, philosophical, ethical, and cultural context within which healthcare decision-making and the law operates - Employ relevant legal terminology, both orally and in writing, to explain and convey technical legal information at a sufficiently advanced level - Formulate clear and coherent arguments on complex legal and ethical issues in healthcare

Psychomotor (Physical Skills)


How the Module will be Taught and what will be the Learning Experiences of the Students:

The teaching of this module is based around several key methods: seminars, student presentations, formative and summative assessments, and reflective feedback. The module will be taught through a series of weekly two hour seminars. The seminars will assist the student in exploring and understanding the legal and ethical issues surrounding topics such as patient autonomy, abortion, organ transplantation, and donor assisted human reproduction. In advance of each seminar, students will be assigned reading material and will be expected to conduct independent research relevant to the forthcoming topic. University of Limerick - Graduate Attributes Students' knowledge is promoted through independent and directed research of contemporary challenges in medical law and ethics. The importance of formative assessment in the module also seeks to promote students' confidence in engaging with and applying disciplinary knowledge. The comparative legal research included as part of student presentations seeks to encourage a proactive and responsible student who utilises data and research in a way which furthers their understanding of legal and ethical challenges at the national and international level. The group discussion which forms an important element of each seminar will support student collaboration and will encourage students to convey their ideas in a clear and effective manner. Summative assessment will develop the students' skills in written communication while also enhancing students' creativity in how they approach independent research.

Research Findings Incorporated in to the Syllabus (If Relevant):

Prime Texts:

Deirdre Madden (2016) Medicine, Ethics and the Law , (3rd edn, Bloomsbury)
Emily Jackson (2016) Medical Law: Text, Cases and Materials , (4th edn, OUP)

Other Relevant Texts:

Programme(s) in which this Module is Offered:

MLLAGETFA - (General)
MLLAGETPA - (General) P/T
MLICLATFA - International Commercial Law
MLICLATPA - International Commercial Law

Semester - Year to be First Offered:

Module Leader: