module specification

LL5050 - Medical Law (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Medical Law
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
114 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Written coursework (2,000 words)
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

“Medical paternalism no longer rules.” per Lord Steyn in Chester v. Afshar [2005] 1 AC 134

In the current millennium, the public have become increasingly aware of their rights in respect of medical treatment, including the right to be informed of the potential consequences of any treatment, and the right to question the competence and expertise of medical professionals.

This is a dynamic, contemporary subject, which forms the basis of several successful legal practices, and so may have a tangible career benefit for students interested in this sector of law.

The aims of the optional module are as follows:

1.  Students will acquire knowledge of the basic principles of tort, criminal law and human rights law which balance the relationship between patients and healthcare workers, studying such matters as consent, patient confidentiality, mental capacity, the right to live and the right to die.
2. Students will develop several key transferable skills, including independent research, critical analysis and cogent academic writing in the context of medical law, emphasising the use of primary and secondary sources.

3. Students will enhance their employability by the development both of these skills, and by the practice of written communication activities (including summative) and oral communication activities (formative only).


1. Introduction to medical law 

2. Medical Torts

Clinical negligence
Trespass to the person

3. Medical Litigation

The complaints mechanism
Dispute resolution

4. Medical Ethics

• Confidentiality
• Autonomy
• Informed consent
• Genetic testing
• Transplants
• Fertility treatment
• Research ethics
• Euthanasia

5. Medical malpractice and criminal law

Learning Outcomes LO1 - LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Learning and Teaching Strategy

Weekly two-hour lecture and one-hour seminar. 

The lecture will be used for:

• Dissemination of knowledge through an overview of each topic with detailed guidance on appropriate aspects;
• An introduction to relevant academic literature;
• Guidance on learning strategies;
• Use of WebLearn and IT resources;
• Whole group questions and discussion.

The seminar will be used for the development of skills necessary to attain the module learning outcomes through:

• Written and oral questions/answers designed to reinforce fundamental rules, principles and cases;
• A range of step-by-step analytical exercises;
• Problem solving;
• IT tasks, such as research of cases and statutes;
• Legal writing.

Blended Learning

All learning materials, previous examination questions and sample Q/A’s will be on WebLearn for use in directed private study.

Student engagement will be encouraged in both lectures and seminars through weekly use of WebLearn for access to all of the above materials.

There will be required use of the professional legal databases, especially Westlaw and Lexis Library, for legal research.

Opportunities for reflective learning/pdp

Each weekly seminar will contain space for students to reflect on what they have learnt in relation to the overall syllabus. There will be frequent feedback opportunities structured into the timetable and a range of sample answers posted onto WebLearn.

Students’ Study Responsibilities

The need for attendance, punctuality, preparation and engagement will be emphasised with particular reference to written and IT research, problem-solving, team-work, discussion, debate and critical awareness of the subject.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of tort, criminal law and human rights law which balance the relationship between patients and healthcare workers.

2. Demonstrate the ability critically to discuss case study problems relating to medical law.

3. Demonstrate the ability to write critical, discursive essays relating to the topics covered in the syllabus.

Assessment strategy

Written coursework (2,000 words maximum)

This will assess the ability cogently to discuss and critically analyse legal case studies and/or contemporary legal issues within the context of medical law.