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Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run in each academic year. Each module description relates to the year indicated in the module availability box, and this may change from year to year, due to, for example: changing staff expertise, disciplinary developments, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Current modules are subject to change in light of the ongoing disruption caused by Covid-19.

Type Open
Level 3
Credits 20
Availability Available in 2023/24
Module Cap
Location Durham
Department Law


  • Introduction to English Law and Legal Method (LAW 1121) and Law of Torts (LAW1051) and Criminal Law (LAW2221)


  • Criminal Law (LAW2221) may also in exceptional circumstances be taken as a co-requisite at the discretion of the Chair of the Board of Studies or their delegate.

Excluded Combinations of Modules

  • None.


  • The general aim of this module is to cultivate a critical appreciation of the legal and ethical difficulties raised by modern medical practice. More specifically, the aims and objectives include the following:
  • To examine the law's involvement with medicine
  • To explore how legal principles might be most effectively used in the medical sphere
  • To develop ethical and contextual awareness of selected medical topics


  • The emergence of medical law and its ethical context
  • Consent and refusal in the content of medical interventions
  • Selected topical issues in, for example, end of life decision-making, transplantation, reproductive medicine, and medical research

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:

  • Students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of existing English law and issues of ethical controversy in medical contexts.

Subject-specific Skills:

  • Students should be able to:
  • Apply the existing law to given hypothetical situations and advise accordingly.
  • Analyse and evaluate the existing law in light of the legal, social, political and moral questions raised
  • Engage in informed debate concerning current proposals for reform.

Key Skills:

  • Students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate developed analytical and writing skills, including the ability to work independently and take responsibility for their own learning.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures are used primarily to impart a framework of knowledge and to suggest approaches to evaluation and critical analysis;
  • Tutorials will be used to develop and enhance students capacity for legal-problem solving in a particular factual situation, evaluative critical analysis and their appreciation of laws' linkage with broader fields of enquiry;
  • Assignments (formative) are used to develop problem-solving skills or the ability to evaluate the law in a critical and contextual way.
  • Summative assessment comprises one examination. The examination tests the ability to focus on relevant legal issues and organise knowledge and argument appropriate to questions raised. The examination questions will provide the means for students to demonstrate the acquisition of subject knowledge and the development of their problem-solving skills.
  • Students will be supported and encouraged in the development of their research and writing skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Lectures20Weekly1 hour20 
Tutorials4Normally two in each of Michaelmas and Epiphany1 hour4Yes
Preparation and Reading176 

Summative Assessment

Component: ExaminationComponent Weighting: 100%
ElementLength / DurationElement WeightingResit Opportunity
written examination3 hours100 

Formative Assessment

1 written essay: 2000 words max

More information

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpages, Help page or our glossary of terms. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Undergraduate Module Handbook, please contact us.

Prospective Students: If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please Ask Us.

Current Students: Please contact your department.