PGCert Healthcare Law Postgraduate Certificate / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Medico-Legal Problems

Course unit fact file
Unit code CSEP60211
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Law
Available as a free choice unit? No


Core Lectures - 20 hours:
1. Law and Healthcare: A Troubled Relationship
2. Autonomy and Consent
3. Capacity, Consent and Best Interests
4. Confidentiality and Privacy
5. Clinical Negligence
6. Redress
7. Criminalising Medicine and the Regulation of Health Professionals
8. Access to Healthcare Treatment
9. European and Human Rights Issues in Healthcare
10. Patient Responsibilities and the Regulation of Healthcare

Cutting-Edge Research-in-Progress Lectures - 3 hours
Three further hour-long presentations will be given by staff members on research in progress in the area of medical law. These will provide a more interactive forum within which ideas, observations and opinions can be exchanged.

Seminars - 3 hours
Students will be asked to prepare for and take part in three seminars on topics arising out of the lectures.

Journal Club - 4 hours
Students will be split into small study groups and asked to undertake research on a topic arising out of the lectures. The result of this research will be presented to the rest of the class and a discussion and debate will follow.

Additionally the students will be expected to undertake private study, approximately as follows:

Preparation for classes and seminars - 70 hours
Research and directed reading - 120 hours
Preparation of assignments - 80

Total = 300 hours.


The aims of the course unit are:

To provide a detailed and advanced understanding of the law relating to the field of healthcare and its relationship to bioethics;

To enable students to understand the impact of the law on patients, practitioners and society;

To provide a sound base of knowledge and skills for students to apply in the remainder of the postgraduate programme;

To develop students' capacity for critical analysis and logical thinking and to encourage independent learning and commitment to scholarship;

To develop a general range of transferable and generic skills in problem-solving and reasoning, computer literacy, time management and teamwork, written and oral communication.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to:

Demonstrate a detailed and advanced knowledge of the applicable law in relation to the topics covered in the teaching sessions;

Understand the implications of the law for the provision of healthcare;

Demonstrate a familiarity with the arguments posed by academic commentators in the area;

Reflect on and critically analyse the relevant law;

Engage with and evaluate the arguments made by policy makers and academic commentators about the relevant law;

Formulate logical and clear arguments on their own position in relation to the law and to the positions of other commentators;

Undertake independent legal research using a variety of sources;

Write critically and analytically on a given aspect of the relevant law.

Teaching and learning methods

This core unit of the Programme consists of innovative and varied teaching methods aimed at achieving a variety of teaching and learning outcomes.

Core lectures will inform students about the current law and debates in the area. They will be research-led sessions run by members of staff with active research interests in these topics and will provide a starting point for students' own study.

Research-in-progress lectures will expose students even more acutely to existing and emerging debates in a given area and provide the opportunity for them to engage with, and contribute to such debates. This will highlight the central role of the students as participants in an active and thriving academic community. The topics of these lectures will be dependent on current developments and the research projects being undertaken by staff at the relevant time and thus will change from year to year.

Seminars will allow the students to work in small groups to discuss queries they have relating to the law and to develop their analytical and reasoning skills.

Journal club sessions will allow the students to develop legal research skills, to gain a greater in-depth knowledge of given topics, and to engage in discussion and debate with their colleagues.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 30%
Written assignment (inc essay) 70%

This course is assessed by two pieces of coursework. One of 2500 words (30%) and one of 3500 words (70%).

Recommended reading

Mason and Laurie, Law and Medical Ethics (10th ed., 2016) OR
M. Brazier & E.Cave, Medicine, Patients and the Law (6th ed., Penguin, 2016)

Another useful, but expensive, book is Emily Jackson, Medical Law: Texts, Cases and Materials (3rd ed, OUP 2013)

Further detailed reading lists will be given in relation to each lecture.

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sarah Devaney Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Formative feedback within this course unit is provided in class presentations and discussions, in both larger workshop and smaller seminar settings.

Feedback on assessed written work is provided through a comprehensive feedback form giving both broad indications and detailed comments on strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement.  An outline of issues for the unit's written assignment will also be published post-assessment on Blackboard.

This is a compulsory course unit for campus-based Health Care Ethics & Law programmes in The School of Law.

See CSEP Campus Based timetable

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