Law School Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code LAW556
Coordinator Dr PJ Case
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 7 FHEQ Second Semester 20


To developcandidates’ broader awareness and understanding of the perpetual political agenda ofmaintaining/enhancing public trust/confidence in health care regulation.   To introduce candidates to some aspects of sociological theory which can be usefully blended with aspects of the law relating to professional regulation. To offer those with an interest in the profession of medicine or medical law with an in depth appreciation of legal frameworks regulating the medical profession, with a particular focus on professional disciplinary proceedings and 'fitness to practise.'

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) An appreciation of some sociological theories of the importance and functioning of trust and confidence in the medical profession and the systems set up to regulate it.

(LO2) The ability to comment critically on recent medical ‘scandals’ and their impact on the regulatory arena.

(LO3) The ability to evaluate the role of the law as a tool with which to enhance or maintain trust and/or confidence with reference to specific contexts.

(LO4) An understanding of critical features of professional regulation and how they contribute to improving patient safety, accountability and maintaining public confidence in the medical profession.

(LO5) A broad awareness of recent changes in the regulatory landscape and the uncertainties they have created.

(LO6) The ability to comment on how professional regulation of doctors may compare with regulation of other professions.

(S1) Information literacy online, finding, interpreting, evaluating, managing and sharing information

(S2) Team (group) working respecting others, co-operating, negotiating / persuading, awareness of interdependence with others

(S3) Literacy application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

(S4) Learning skills online studying and learning effectively in technology-rich environments, formal and informal



The syllabus for the module will include all or most of the following topics and issues:   Trust and Confidence in Health Care Settings – exploring some of the sociological theories of trust and confidence (e.g. the writings of Luhmann, Giddens) and applying them to health care contexts.Reviewing high profile 'scandals' which have allegedly impacted negatively on levels of trust in medicine and examining the evidence for a decline of trust in medicine and/or the medical profession. Trust and Professional Discipline : Regulation of Doctors -  examining the statutory framework under the Medical Act 1983 for the regulation of doctors by the General Medical Council (GMC). The module focuses particularly on  ‘fitness to practise’ proceedings brought by the GMC and the case law on sanctioning doctors which tends to prioritise the maintenance of public confidence in the profession. This part of the syllabus will also explore issues such as the accountability of the GMC and its counterparts. 'Bad apples' - Dealing with dishonesty - learning about regulatory responses to instances of proven dishonesty committed by members of the professions (from fare dodging and CV embellishment to falsifying patient records). What is the price of dishonesty? Are doctors and lawyers who are found to have acted dishonestly judged by the same standards? Moving away from 'self-regulation' - exploring the extent to which the traditional model of professional regulation (based on self-regulation - doctors regulated by doctors) has been qualified or still exists, albeit in a modified form.  Revalidation - assessing recent reforms designed to provide continuing evidence and reassurance that doctors are fit to practice. Open and Honest Care - to what extent does the legal framework facilitate or even promote the reporting of concerns by those working in health care? This topic examines the stories of high profile 'whistleblowers' and assesses legal protections available for whistleblowers in healthcare. Students may also explore the implications of the new statutory duty of candour introduced as a response to the Mid-Staffordshire Inquiry recommendations.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Seminar
Description: There will be 12 x 2 hour seminars. These sessions will be used to introduce students to new topics and provide outlines and explore key issues of particular controversy or complexity. Each session will also usually include students reporting back on directed reading and completion of tasks/activities within groups - eg mooting specific issues, answering problem questions or critiquing selected articles.
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours   24

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 176


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 1 There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule (When) :End of Semester 1    80       
Assessment 2 Diagnostic essay    20       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.

Other Staff Teaching on this Module

Dr EM Horowicz Law

Modules for which this module is a pre-requisite:


Pre-requisites before taking this module (other modules and/or general educational/academic requirements):


Co-requisite modules:


Programme(s) (including Year of Study) to which this module is available on a required basis:


Programme(s) (including Year of Study) to which this module is available on an optional basis:


Additional Programme Information