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Medical Law Review

Kristof Van Assche, Kasper Raus, Bert Vanderhaegen, Sigrid Sterckx
In 2014, the Belgian Euthanasia Law was amended so as to extend the possibility of obtaining euthanasia to minors who have the capacity for discernment. The amendment led to considerable debate among Belgian legal experts, health care professionals and ethicists, in large part due to concerns about the scope and assessment of the minor's 'capacity for discernment', a concept first introduced in Belgian medical law by the amendment. This article offers a critical legal analysis of the concept of 'capacity for discernment' and its implications for euthanasia practice in Belgium...
July 2, 2018: Medical Law Review
Emilie Cloatre
This article explores the ambiguities of the legal system that, in France, regulates 'alternative healing', and determines the boundaries of legitimate medical care. While the law suggests that the delivery of therapeutic care should be the monopoly of biomedically-trained professionals, alternative healers operate very widely, and very openly, in France. They practice, however, on the verge of (il)legality, often organising their activities, individually and collectively, so as to limit the likelihood of state intervention...
June 27, 2018: Medical Law Review
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No abstract text is available yet for this article.
June 8, 2018: Medical Law Review
Gemma Turton
If a patient suffers physical harm during medical treatment when a risk materialises which the doctor failed to warn the patient about, there are two key issues when a negligence claim is brought by the patient. First, it must be shown that the doctor was negligent in failing to warn the patient about the particular risk. Secondly, it must normally be shown that this failure to warn was a cause of the damage suffered, although courts also allow claims to succeed when a patient may still have undergone treatment even if adequately warned...
June 5, 2018: Medical Law Review
Marjolein Timmers, Evert-Ben Van Veen, Andrew I R Maas, Erwin J O Kompanje
There is an inherent tension between critical care research and data protection. Because of their condition it is not possible to ask for the patients' informed consent to be enrolled in observational research at the point of admission to the hospital. Often this is not possible at a later moment either. Yet informed consent is the baseline to be enrolled in research with personal data and exceptions must be allowed for by national legislation. This was the case under Directive 95/96/EC and will be the case under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, Regulation 2016/679 EU) which will replace the Directive from 25 May 2018 onwards...
May 17, 2018: Medical Law Review
Andrew Harris, Andrew Walker
The article examines the decision-making process for medical reporting of deaths to a coroner and the statutory basis for coronial decisions whether to investigate. It analyses what is published about the consistency of decision making of coroners and discusses what should be the legal basis for determining whether a particular death is natural or unnatural in English law. There is a review of English case law, including the significance of Touche and Benton and the development of 'unnatural' as a term of art, which informs what the courts have held to be an unnatural death...
April 23, 2018: Medical Law Review
Thomas E Webb
Under section 23 of the Mental Health Act 1983 a person can be discharged by the managers of the hospital from compulsory care. The limited evidence indicates that the section 23 power is normally delegated to a specially appointed panel who hold a hearing. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the implications for the liberty, autonomy, and dignity of the compelled person, very little is known about how this process operates. Nonetheless, since 1996 there has been a sustained effort to abolish the power. In view of this, the proposal to reform the 1983 Act contained in the Queen's Speech January 2017, and the subsequent establishment of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act in October 2017, I critique the claims made in the abolition debate, and establish the conceptual gaps therein...
April 20, 2018: Medical Law Review
Alexandra Mullock
This commentary explores the Court of Appeal's decision in the case of Rose1 in order to assess the risk of liability for gross negligence manslaughter currently faced by the medical profession in the event that negligence causes the death of a patient. Subtly modifying the test established in Adomako,2Rose confirms that in order to be potentially liable, there must be a serious risk of death that was, rather than ought to have been, obvious/foreseeable to the defendant. Consequently, in more complex cases where the serious risk of death is not immediately obvious, negligently failing to assess risk seems to prevent potential liability on the basis that the putative defendant was in a position of negligent ignorance...
May 1, 2018: Medical Law Review
Margaret Brazier, Sarah Devaney, Alexandra Mullock
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
May 1, 2018: Medical Law Review
Catherine Stanton
This commentary considers the General Medical Council's new guidance, Confidentiality: Good Practice in Handling Patient Information, which came into effect in April 2017. The commentary highlights some of the changes from the previous guidance and argues that, while some areas could have been developed further, the new guidelines are in general more detailed and user-friendly than previously, and will therefore be of benefit to practitioners. The commentary also highlights further developments on the horizon, such as new data protection legislation...
May 1, 2018: Medical Law Review
David R Lawrence, Margaret Brazier
Novel beings-intelligent, conscious life-forms sapient in the same way or greater than are human beings-are no longer the preserve of science fiction. Through technologies such as artificial general intelligence, synthetic genomics, gene printing, cognitive enhancement, advanced neuroscience, and more, they are becoming ever more likely and by some definitions may already be emerging. Consideration of the nature of intelligent, conscious novel beings such as those that may result from these technologies requires analysis of the concept of the 'reasonable creature in being' in English law, as well as of the right to life as founded in the European Convention on Human Rights and the attempts to endow human status on animals in recent years...
May 1, 2018: Medical Law Review
Sarah Devaney, Søren Holm
This article critically considers the question of whether an increase in legal recognition of patient autonomy culminating in the decision of the Supreme Court in Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board in 2015 has led to the death of deference to doctors, not only within the courts and healthcare regulatory arenas in England and Wales but also in the consulting room and the health care system more broadly. We argue that deference has not been eradicated, but that the types of deference paid to doctors and to the medical profession have changed...
May 1, 2018: Medical Law Review
Ruth Chadwick, Duncan Wilson
Bioethics emerged in a specific social and historical context. Its relationship to older traditions in medical ethics and to environmental ethics is an ongoing matter of debate. This article analyses the social, institutional, and economic factors that led to the development of bioethics in the UK in the 1980s, and the course it has taken since. We show how phenomena such as globalisation, the focus on 'ethical legal and social issues' and the empirical turn have affected the methods employed, and argue that ongoing controversies about the nature and possibility of ethical expertise will affect its future...
May 1, 2018: Medical Law Review
Beverley A Clough
This article explores the development of law and policy relating to mental capacity law, situating this within the context of the binaries that have driven this development. Whilst the story of this historical development is well worn, considering it through this lens allows some of the previously hidden problematic consequences of these binaries to come to the fore in our debates. The article will expose these issues through considering the binary between capacity and incapacity, and the interlinked binaries of empowerment/protection and autonomy/paternalism underpinning policies and debate in this area...
May 1, 2018: Medical Law Review
Muireann Quigley, Semande Ayihongbe
Using the metaphor and actuality of the 'everyday cyborg', this article makes the case that the law is ill-equipped to deal with challenges raised by the linking of the organic, biological person with synthetic, inorganic parts and devices. For instance, should internal medical devices that keep the person alive be viewed as part of the person or mere objects (or something else)? Is damage to neuro-prostheses (eg nervous system integrated limb prostheses) personal injury or damage to property? Who ought to control/own the software in implanted medical devices? And how should the law deal with risks around third-party device access (including that of unauthorised access and hacking)? We argue that satisfactorily answering such questions will likely require a re-analysis of the conceptual and philosophical underpinnings of the law, as well as the law itself...
May 1, 2018: Medical Law Review
Iain Brassington
In his comments on Bland, Lord Justice Hoffmann stated that 'I would expect medical ethics to be formed by the law rather than the reverse'. But what judges expect, and what they have a right to expect, are different things; I shall use Hoffmann LJ's statement as a way into looking at the relationship between ethics and law, and argue that it is partially correct insofar as that it makes a prediction about that relationship. Professional ethics and codes of ethics are shaped by law; but law is shaped by those codes to some extent, and both are influenced by 'philosophical ethics'...
May 1, 2018: Medical Law Review
Paul Skowron
Judges in England and Wales tell three apparently contradictory stories about the relationship between autonomy and mental capacity. Sometimes, capacity is autonomy's gatekeeper: those with capacity are autonomous, but those without capacity are not. Sometimes, capacity is necessary for autonomy but insufficient; for voluntariness, freedom from undue external influences is also required. Finally, sometimes autonomy survives incapacity, and a person without capacity is nevertheless treated as autonomous. These three accounts coexist, so no story of evolution, in which one account comes to replace another, can be told...
April 18, 2018: Medical Law Review
Tsachi Keren-Paz
Recently in Shaw v Kovac, the Court of Appeal seemed to have rejected a standalone injury to autonomy (ITA) as actionable in negligence, in an informed consent case. In this article, I argue that Shaw can be explained away, and that English law recognizes ITA as actionable in a series of cases, some of which-Bhamra, Tracey, and Yearworth-were not hitherto understood to do so. However, the under-theorization in the cases leads to inconsistencies. Like cases (Rees/Yearworth; Chester/Tracey) are not treated alike; ITA is misunderstood to be about 'religious offence' (Bhamra) and property loss (Yearworth) and worse still, the more serious type 2 ITA (Rees) gives rise to a weaker remedy (of exceptional nature aside) than the less serious type 1 injury (Chester)...
April 10, 2018: Medical Law Review
Marianna Iliadou
This case note analyses the recent judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Paradiso and Campanelli v Italy and examines its implications for cross-border surrogacy in Europe. It is argued that this judgment is highly significant, because it sets new standards in terms of the concept of family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This judgment, it is argued, only appears to bring a halt to the (seemingly) backdoor legitimacy of commercial surrogacy established by the findings of the Second Section and previous judgments of the Court...
February 21, 2018: Medical Law Review
Craig Purshouse, Kate Bracegirdle
The fact that surrogacy contracts are unenforceable can cause problems if a surrogate decides that she wishes to keep the child. When this happens, the intended parents cannot bring a claim in contract compelling her to give the baby up to them or even for the return of money paid to the surrogate. Intuitively, it appears unfair that the surrogate can keep the child and the money while the intended parents are left with nothing. However, enforcing such contracts could be oppressive to the surrogate and detrimental to the child's welfare...
February 7, 2018: Medical Law Review
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