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Lawyers' Medicine

The Legislature, the Courts and Medical Practice, 1760-2000

Editor(s): Imogen Goold, Catherine Kelly
Media of Lawyers' Medicine
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Published: 16-09-2009
Format: PDF eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 230
ISBN: 9781847315342
Imprint: Hart Publishing
RRP: £39.59
Online price : £31.67
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Loren Epson

About Lawyers' Medicine

This book investigates how the requirements, limitations and intellectual structure of the British legal process have shaped medicine and medical practice. The story of this inter-relationship is greatly under-researched, which is particularly concerning given that the legal system remains a significant and pervasive influence on medicine and its practice to this day. The question which unifies the series of historical studies presented here is whether legal consideration of medical practice and concepts has played a part in the construction of medical concepts and affected developments in medical practice - in other words how the external, legal gaze has shaped the way medicine itself conceptualises some of its practices and classifications. The majority of the chapters consider this question in the context of the development and application of legislation, but the influence of court processes is also considered. Other themes which emerge from the book include the nature and exclusivity of medical expertise, the impact of public opinion on the development of medical legislation, and the difficulty the legal system has faced in dealing with new medical developments. The chapters are arranged chronologically, with an introduction drawing out themes that emerge from the chapters as a whole.

Table Of Contents

1. Introduction: Lawyers' Medicine: The Interaction of the Medical Profession and the Law, 1760–2000
Catherine Kelly and Imogen Goold
2. Parliamentary Inquiries and the Construction of Medical Argument in the Early 19th Century, 1793–1825
Catherine Kelly
3. Bye Laws, the Environment, and Health before Chadwick, 1835–1840
James Hanley
4. Is a Burn a Wound? Vitriol-Throwing in Medico-Legal Context, 1800–1900
Katherine D Watson
5. Not Their Fathers' Sons: The Changing Trajectory in Psychiatric Testimony, 1760–1900
Joel Peter Eigen
6. Speaking Out about Staying Silent: An Historical Examination of Medico-legal Debates over the Boundaries of Medical Confidentiality
Angus H Ferguson
7. Law, Medicine and the Treatment of Homosexual Offenders in Scotland, 1950–1980
Roger Davidson
8. The Medical Community and Abortion Law Reform: Scotland in National Context, c 1960–1980
Gayle Davis
9. Regulating Reproduction in the United Kingdom: Doctors' Voices, 1978–1985
Imogen Goold
10. Nobody's Thing? Human Tissue in Science, Ethics and the Law during the late 20th Century
Duncan Wilson


“This volume traces new territory by specifically examining twin interactions: the way doctors contributed to the development of law and policy and the way law and policy contributed to the practice of medicine … the quite fascinating conclusion is that as both evolved one affected the other in politically and professionally significant ways.
The substantive chapters … are noteworthy for their breadth of medical and political practice. Medical education, public health and sanitation, disease treatment, criminal prosecution, reproductive regulation, and medical research are all included in case studies, likewise government work from the smallest municipal corporation to the work of parliament itself, as well as a variety of government commissions and regulatory bodies, is all present. Even the judicial work is delightfully expansive…the comprehensive feel of the book is unusual in this field.
In general, the book provides a rich record of policy process and development in the context of decisions affecting or requiring medical practice.

” –  Rebecca C. Harris, The Law and Politics Book Review

“Whilst many such publications invite the reader to 'dip in' selectively, this collection manages to present coherent themes that resonate in many of the papers despite their diverse individual topics.
This slim volume is a fascinating collection of papers, each of which reflects well the overall theme of the work. Those interested in the specific issues covered will of no doubt find much to explore... The editors note that the relationship between law and medicine ... in the context of law making is a much under researched topic and should be justly proud that their work presents a collection that breaks much new ground in this area. As such it will be of interest to those working in both the fields of legal and medical history along with socio-legal scholars interested in these interfaces between law and medicine.
” –  Colm McGrath, The Cambridge Law Journal, Volume 69, Part 3

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