The University of Southampton

LAWS3062 Health Care Law

Module Overview

The Health Care Law module offers a comprehensive introduction to health care law, examining through theoretical and practical questions the links between health care, ethics, and law. It affords philosophical and practical insights, asking you to consider how law and regulation should relate to health care practice, and to develop ideas for law reform in a health care context.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To develop knowledge and understanding of the main legal features of the relationship between patients and health services and the range of regulatory techniques used in health care law • To develop knowledge and understanding of main types arguments used to justify and critically evaluate the success of legal regulation • An opportunity to develop your skills of independent research, analysis and argumentation (communicated through both oral and written work), drawing on a range of disciplines as appropriate, through critical analysis of a selected area of law and the making of proposals for reform.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Describe and critically evaluate the positions of patients and health professionals in English health care law
  • Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills
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 health care, using appropriately selected specific examples to justify your assessment
  • Consider the relative merits of legal and other mechanisms for regulating health care
  • Consider the relative merits of legal and other mechanisms for regulating health care
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Clarify, inform and defend your views on selected issues of health care law and ethics
  • Research, formulate and propose appropriate reforms of the law


This syllabus is indicative rather than final and is subject to change in the light of current controversies and the interests of students. Much of the work you do is related to the assessments rather than to specific classes, which usually explore approaches to the subject or help foster skills of analysis or reform in preparation for the assessments. The following is a list of the topics that are usually included. • Public health law contagious disease control, prevention and promotion • Rights to health care and the structure of the NHS • Accountability and quality control: professional and corporate regulation, the role of litigation • The position of the patient, consent to care, health care information, children, the mentally ill • Selected issues in medical ethics: usually from terminal care and euthanasia, childbirth, abortion and the law, sterilisation, withdrawal of treatment, fertility treatment, research ethics surrogacy, organ transplantation • The main regulatory mechanisms, patient choice, clinical freedom, judicial oversight, licensing, role of markets: surrogacy, organ transplantation • Theories of health care law

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module uses seminars (10 x 2 hours), lectures (20 x 1 hour) and self-directed study. Seminar work is organised so as to enable you to develop skills of analysis and argument through structured group work and to apply them on a topic of your choice. They include work on stakeholder analysis, the close reading of legal materials, drafting exercises, establishing patterns of analysis of bodies on law, and developing success criteria for judicial and regulatory activity Lectures are drawn directly from the research and public service experience of the tutors. They explore how the research was developed, enabling you to plan your own research towards the assessments, as well as the results. They explore competing analytical paradigms, conceptual problems, political legitimacy, reform processes, regulatory models as well as specific areas of law. The module is structured so that a significant amount of your self-study time will be directed towards the preparation for the two summative assessments rather than directed at the content of the lectures and

Independent Study260
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Montgomery J (2002). Health Care Law. 

Brazier, M & Cave, E. (2011). Medicine, Patients and the Law. 

Mason, J. K. & Laurie, G. T. (2013). Law and Medical Ethics. 

Jackson, E. (2013). Medical Law Text and Materials. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  ( words) 40%
Project report  ( words) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  ( words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  ( words) 100%


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:

Books and Stationery equipment

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the core/ recommended 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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