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LAW7133 - Legal issues in medicine

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Dr Fiona Hum


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


Practising law and practising medicine. Principles governing clinical medical practice. The foundation of medical ethics. The relationship between medicine and allied health professions. The regulation of the medical profession. Doctors, patients and the law and alternatives to litigation. Medical negligence and consent. Rights to refuse medical treatment, and competence and incompetence in law and medicine. Medical confidentiality. Law and psychiatry. The body as property. Medical research: volunteers, institutional ethics committees and the law. Medical treatment and the end of life. The beginnings of life: novel birth technologies and abortion. Doctors in court.


On completion of this unit students should have

  1. acquired an understanding and appreciation of the rationales and roles of the legal and medical practice and structure;
  2. developed the ability to critically analyse and evaluate a number of major issues and concepts fundamental to the doctor-patient relationship; and
  3. practised and improved their research and writing skills as well as their skills in class/group participation and learning to understand, share and accept differing points of view.


Research paper (4,500 words): 60%
Class presentation: 20%
Class Test: 20%

Contact hours

One 3-hour session per week (and 2 or 3 day visits program in the mid-semester break)


Medical students: third year of the MBBS