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The University of Southampton
Health Ethics and Law (HEAL)

Criminalising contagion: Legal and ethical challenges of disease transmission and the criminal law Event

10:30 - 16:00
10 September 2013
Law Building University of Southampton

For more information regarding this event, please email David Gurnham at .

Event details

A series of four seminars organised by collaboration between the Health Ethics and Law network (HEAL) and the Institute of Criminal Justice Research (ICJR) at the University of Southampton and the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy (CSEP) at the University of Manchester.

Should a person that infects another with HIV or herpes or causes a child to inherit a genetic disease be treated as a criminal, in the same way as someone that causes injury? For many people the criminal law might appear to be an appropriate tool for punishing and deterring such behaviour. But is this recourse to criminalization really the most appropriate response in this context? The use of criminal law to respond to infectious disease transmission has implications for a number of professional and public organisations. It presupposes, for example, that people who infect others can be identified by the police, prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service and effectively and fairly brought to justice in a criminal court applying the law. This process involves a potentially difficult relationship between the organs of criminal justice and public health bodies, whose agendas and priorities may not necessarily coincide. The aim of this series of four seminars is to bring together a broad spectrum of expertise to advance knowledge on law and policy on the topic of criminalizing disease.

This seminar will focus on public information, 'moral panic' and the roles and responsibilities of the media in the context of criminalized (and potentially criminalizable) infections and diseases.

Places are free but limited, so if you would like to reserve a place, please email David Gurnham.

Seminar 1 took place in Southampton in January 2013, and Seminars 3 and 4 will take place in Manchester next year. For information on either of these please contact
Catherine Stanton ( or
Hannah Quirk (

Speaker information

Dr John Coggon,Reader

Professor Toby Seddon,University of Manchester,Director of Research

Mr Peter Greehouse,Consultant in Sexual Health and BSHH,Media Committee Chairman

Mr Edwin Bernard,Writer and editor,HIV policy consultant

Dr Lucy Stackpool-Moore,(formally of SOAS),University of London

David Fenton,Health Correspondent,BBC

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