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The University of Southampton

LAWS2032 Health Care Law and Bioethics

Module Overview

The Health Care Law Bioethics module examines the relationships between health care, ethics, and law. It explores a range of theoretical approaches from philosophical bioethics, and relates them to foundational and practical questions in health care law.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- develop knowledge and understanding of the main legal features of the relationship between patients and health services - develop knowledge and understanding of bioethical arguments used to justify or limit legal regulation of and in health care - develop the ability to critically evaluate the success of legal interventions in health care law - offer an opportunity to develop independent research skills, including analysis and argumentation, drawing on a range of disciplines as appropriate, through critical analysis of selected areas of health care law

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Health Care Law as a discrete area of study;
  • key bioethical debates regarding health care provision, and their relationship with law and legal understanding.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • critically appraise the use of law to promote health and secure healthcare, using appropriately selected specific examples to justify your assessment;
  • consider the bioethical legitimacy of legal and other mechanisms for regulating health care;
  • examine the relationship between law and ethics in the context of health care;
  • examine and assess specific aspects of health care law;
  • clarify, inform, and defend your views on selected issues of health care law and bioethics.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • communicate your views using clear, reasoned argument demonstrating an appreciation of academic integrity.


The module analyses health care through legal study and philosophical bioethics. Its primary focus is on health care provided through the NHS (the UK's National Health Service) and it explores topical issues and questions of ongoing Importance and controversy in relation to the provision of health care. This includes key questions about the rights, freedoms, and obligations that are ethically due in health care, and the extent to which these might be legally underpinned and regulated. Overall, the module develops an understanding of the field of health care law as a discrete area of legal study, and invites critical engagement through bioethical analysis.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: - Lectures - Tutorials - Group work Learning activities include: - Individual study and research - Accessing online resources and health care law literature - Preparing and participating in tutorial activities

Completion of assessment task30
Preparation for scheduled sessions80
Wider reading or practice10
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Graham Laurie, Shawn Harmon and Gerard Porter, Mason & Mc-Call-Smiths (2016). Law and Medical Ethics. 

Choose one of the three texts listed. 

Brazier, M & Cave, E. (2016). Medicine, Patients and the Law (Contemporary Issues in Bioethics). 

Jackson, E. (2016). Medical Law Text and Materials. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Printing and Photocopying Costs

There may be additional printing/photocopying costs associated with the module.


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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