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 LAW536
Coordinator Dr EM Horowicz
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 7 FHEQ First Semester 20


-To investigate and elucidate the ethical principles and approaches which underpin health care decision making.

-To examine, appraise and analyse the meaning and role of key concepts in health care including ‘autonomy’, ‘capacity’, ‘best interests’, 'bodily integrity’, ‘reproductive liberty’, ‘justice’, ‘beneficence’ etc.

To examine, appraise and analyse the conflict between medical/judicial paternalism and patient autonomy.

To examine, appraise and analyse decision-making in different contexts including the beginnings and end of life.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Show an understanding of the relevant ethical, social, economic, political, historical, philosophical, scientific and cultural contexts within which health case decision making operates

(LO2) Demonstrate a capacity to analyse, evaluate and apply the principal ethical approaches Health Care Decision Making, including deontological and utilitarian approaches, feminist and care ethics, reproductive ethics, public health ethics etc as appropriate

(LO3) Be able to apply legal ethical principles to ethico-legal scenarios and draw reasoned conclusions supported by appropriate legal authority

(LO4) Be able to synthesise information from a variety of sources of professional guidance issued by bodies such as the GMC, BMA, Royal Colleges, WHO etc to achieve detailed knowledge and understanding of the process of Health Care Decision Making and how such approaches intersect with the Law

(LO5) Demonstrate a capacity to appraise and evaluate the contribution of professional guidance in judicial decision making in the courts and an ability to criticise how legal judgments draw on ethical sources in health decision-making, especially the courts, in safeguarding autonomy and promoting communication.

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

(S2) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

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

(S4) Information literacy online, finding, interpreting, evaluating, managing and sharing information

(S5) Research management developing a research strategy, project planning and delivery, risk management, formulating questions, selecting literature, using primary/secondary/diverse sources, collecting & using data, applying research methods, applying ethics



The precise syllabus of this module will vary from year to year, but will include critical analysis and appraisal of the substance of health care decision making in a variety of contexts such as:

What is a ''Medical'' decision? What is an “ethical” decision?

An exploration of key ethical concepts – autonomy, justice, bodily integrity, beneficence etc

Reproductive Ethics

The Ethics of Care and other Feminist Approaches

Public Health Ethics

Global Justice

Ethics in end of life decision making

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The module runs according to the same seminar pattern as 2019-20. This means asynchronous materials are prepared and given in advance of the two hour, weekly seminar.
The weekly seminar can either take place online or in a face-to-face setting, depending on the circumstances.

Module Delivery Seminars
Seminars will be synchronous (either face-to-face or online) and will work on the assumption that students have completed their assigned reading tasks in advance (from asynchronous material provided in advance
Asynchronous material
Canvas will be used to provide asynchronous materials weekly in advance of the weekly seminar .

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
Essay critically evaluating the ethical arguments of a healthcare decision-making issue which must utilise appropriate ethical theory or frameworks to reach a substantive conclusion. There is a resit    80       
Development of a critical analysis essay plan focusing on an aspect of healthcare decision-making covered within the module and must utilise appropriate ethical theory or frameworks.    20       

Recommended Texts

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

Other Staff Teaching on this Module


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