FOR4003 - Ethics, medicine and the law - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Forensic Medicine

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Liz Bishop
Associate Professor Richard Bassed


Dr Liz Bishop

Quota applies

This unit is quota restricted. Selection is on a first-in, first enrolled basis. For further information please contact the Postgraduate Course Administrator via email or phone 03 9684 4115.

Unit guides



  • First semester 2018 (Online)


The unit aims to help students become familiar with the tools and vocabulary of ethical discourse in medicine. A framework for this discourse is built, based on the four basic principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. The elements which go to make up the Australian Legal System are covered as well as those particular areas of law relating to forensic medical practice, i.e. consent, confidentiality and disclosure, issues at both the beginning and end of life.


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

  1. Develop a high level awareness and understanding of the ideas and issues in medical ethics so that in practice the interests of their patients/clients are safeguarded.
  2. Critically evaluate relevant areas of the law so that in practice their contribution to the justice system is optimal.
  3. Appreciate the importance of both law and ethics in the treatment of patients/clients and the application of these principles to optimal pateint/client outcomes.
  4. Acquire skills in the constructive approach to complex situations with competing ethical issues.
  5. Critically evaluate your own practice through the lens of medical ethics and law.
  6. Discuss and critically interpret issues related to justice in forensic medicine from the perspectives of law, rights and ethics.


  • Assignments/essays (50%) (Hurdle)
  • Presentations (25%)
  • Casebook workbook (25%)

Hurdle Requirement

A pass in all elements of assessment is required. Students must obtain at least 50 % of the available marks for each element of assessment to pass the unit.

Workload requirements

It is expected that students will need to undertake approximately 12 hours of study per week over the semester. This will include contact time, private study, assessment tasks (case studies, assignments) and, where possible, involvement in casework. Students are required to attend all workshops offered at the Department of Forensic Medicine during the semester.

See also Unit timetable information

Off-campus attendance requirements

Compulsory 2 day workshop.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: