This module will provide students with a detailed understanding of the general principles of medical law, including the significance of patient autonomy, capacity, consent to medical treatment, medical negligence and medical confidentiality. While the focus of the module is on legal issues, ethical considerations underlying this area of the law will also be addressed.
Teaching will begin with an overview of some of the main theories of medical ethics and their application in the context of medical confidentiality. Several weeks will then be dedicated to the law on consent to medical treatment, in particular questions such as: who can make decisions where a person needs medical treatment? Is an adult's right to make his/her own decisions absolute, or can it be limited, for example, if the adult lacks an understanding of the consequences of the decision, or where the refusal of treatment would lead to the person's death? Who can make treatment decisions if an adult lacks the ability to make his/her own decisions, and according to which criteria? And what about medical treatment of children?
The last part of the module will discuss some of the main issues in the law of medical negligence. For example, how is the physician's duty of care to the patient defined? Is this a question for the medical profession to decide, or should the judges define the standard of care? And how can causation be determined? Looking at developments in case law from Bolam to Bolitho and post-Bolitho cases, the different approaches to this question, and their consequences for both physicians and patients, will be discussed. A special problem in the context of medical negligence is how much information does a physician need to give to a patient prior to medical treatment. The move from a position where it was left to the medical profession to determine what and how much information a patient should be given (Sidaway) to a patient-centered approach (Montgomery) will be analysed.
We will also discuss the legally and ethically controversial question on how to deal with cases where, because physicians gave negligent advice, a child is born with severe disabilities, when without negligence the birth would have been avoided. Can it be said that the child is harmed for having been born?
Lastly, the module will address questions of medical confidentiality, for example where adolescents do not want parents to know that they are seeking contraceptive advice or want to have an abortion.

Aims and Objectives
The objectives of the module are:
To provide students with the necessary foundations of knowledge so that the Learning Outcomes listed below are met
To develop the capacity of students for critical analysis and to encourage independent research and reasoned argumentation.