Medical Law

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Emily Jackson


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

Medical law is a rapidly developing and increasingly important subject. The unprecedented restrictions on liberty during the pandemic, and the very real possibility that the NHS might run out of ventilators became central political issues in 2020. New technologies, such as genome editing, egg freezing and face transplants, are invariably accompanied by demands for their regulation. In this course we examine the legal framework within which health services are provided, and we explore some of the difficult legal and ethical dilemmas that arise when determining the limits of medical innovation.

Subjects include resource allocation; public health; malpractice litigation; consent; mental capacity; mental health law; confidentiality; clinical research; the regulation of medicines; organ transplantation; embryo and stem cell research; abortion; assisted conception; preimplantation genetic diagnosis; surrogacy and assisted dying.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. This year some or all of this teaching will be delivered through recorded online lectures and a mix of both in-person and online classes to accommodate students who are unable to physically be on campus.  This course includes a reading week in Weeks 6 of Michaelmas Term and Lent Term.

Formative coursework

At least one formative (unassessed) essay per term.

Indicative reading

Jackson, Medical Law: Text, Cases and Materials, 5th edition (Oxford UP, 2019).


Take-home assessment (50%) and take-home assessment (50%).

Two take-home assessments worth 50% each. The first will take place between MT and LT, and the second will take place between LT and ST. Assessment dates will be confirmed prior to the start of Michaelmas Term 2021.

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2021/22: 104

Average class size 2021/22: 15

Capped 2021/22: Yes (105)

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills