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Ethical Judgments

Re-Writing Medical Law

Editor(s): Stephen W. Smith, John Coggon, Clark Hobson, Richard Huxtable, Sheelagh McGuinness, José Miola, Mary Neal
Media of Ethical Judgments
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Published: 12-01-2017
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 312
ISBN: 9781849465793
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £42.99
Online price : £38.69
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Loren Epson

About Ethical Judgments

This edited collection is designed to explore the ethical nature of judicial decision-making, particularly relating to cases in the health/medical sphere, where judges are often called upon to issue rulings on questions containing an explicit ethical component. However, judges do not receive any specific training in ethical decision-making, and often disown any place for ethics in their decision-making. Consequently, decisions made by judges do not present consistent or robust ethical theory, even when cases appear to rely on moral claims.
The project explores this dichotomy by imagining a world in which decisions by judges have to be ethically as well as legally valid. Nine specific cases are reinterpreted in light of that requirement by leading academics in the fields of medical law and bioethics. Two judgments are written in each case, allowing for different views to be presented. Two commentaries - one ethical and one legal - then explore the ramifications of the ethical judgments and provide an opportunity to explore the two judgments from additional ethical and legal perspectives. These four different approaches to each judgment allow for a rich and varied critique of the decisions and ethical theories and issues at play in each case.

Table Of Contents

Introduction-Medicine in the Courtroom: Judges, Ethics and the Law

Re A (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) [2001] Fam 147

R (on the Application of Axon) v Secretary of State for Health [2006] EWHC 37 (Admin)

Airedale NHS Trust v Bland [1993] AC 789

R v Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, ex parte Blood [1999] Fam 151

Bolitho v Hackney Health Authority [1998] AC 232

R v Bourne [1939] 1 KB 687

Chester v Afshar [2005] 1 AC 134

R (on the Application of Nicklinson and Another) v Ministry of Justice [2014] UKSC 38

St George's Healthcare NHS Trust v S [1999] Fam 26

Conclusion-Medical Law Rewritten


“The book is full of thought-provoking nuggets” –  Alex RK, Mental Capacity Law and Policy

Ethical Judgments: Re-Writing Medical Law is an engaging and timely addition to the socio-legal literature on the interaction between medical law, ethics, and the judiciary ... The alternative judgements given in the book, often from quite different perspectives, coupled with the legal and ethical commentaries, provide a compelling demonstration of the “alternative histories” that might have been created within the field of medical law.” –  Catriona McMillan, School of Law, University of Edinburgh, SCRIPTed

“A strong collection of ideas and concepts, this book represents a unique opportunity to engage in some well-known decisions through fresh eyes. An interesting and thought provoking read that one can dip in and out of, the book also provides an excellent teaching tool for discussion and analysis.” –  Bernadette Richards, European Journal of Health Law

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