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Medical law and ethics


Medical Law and Ethics is a fascinating area to study dealing with some of the most contested and controversial issues of our time; assisted dying, abortion, and embryo research to name three. New technologies such as stem cell research, face transplants and pre-implantation genetic testing have attracted considerable media and public interest. 

To study medical law at this level, it is essential to also consider the ethical issues which under pin questions about how we should regulate controversial medical practices.

This course requires students to use sophisticated analytical skills in evaluating complex legal and ethical dilemmas and to challenge their own and others’ received wisdom while becoming aware of the importance of providing defensible reasons for their views.

Module A: Basic concepts in medical law


  • Bioethics
  • Consent
  • Capacity
  • Confidentiality

Module B: Access to treatment and malpractice litigation


  • Resource allocation
  • Medical malpractice
  • Product liability and the regulation of medicines
  • Liability for occurrences before birth

Module C: Legal and ethical issues in medical practice


  • Mental health law
  • Clinical research
  • Organ transplantation
  • End of life decisions

Module D: Legal and ethical issues in reproduction


  • Abortion
  • Embryo and stem cell research
  • Assisted conception
  • Surrogacy


Each module will be assessed by a 45-minute unseen written examination.


It is strongly recommended you attempt the modules in order.

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Common Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • Legal Theory and History
  • Medicine and the Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.

Academic Co-ordinator

Dr Tracey Elliot

Dr Tracey Elliott joined the University of Leicester School of Law in 2010. After graduating from Birmingham University, Tracey was called to the Bar and practised from 4 Paper Buildings and 9-12 Bell Yard, specialising in criminal litigation and advisory work and acting for both prosecution and defence. She remains a (non practising) door tenant at 9-12 Bell Yard. She has worked as a lecturer at Queen Mary University of London and as a visiting lecturer/teacher at City University, the University of Surrey, King’s College, London and the LSE. She has lectured to the legal and medical professions and assisted with advocacy training at Gray’s Inn. She has also worked in Poland, lecturing to Polish judges, prosecutors and Ministry of Justice officials on the UK legal system. Her PhD thesis examined the development and use of the justification of necessity in medical law. Her current research projects relate to the treatment and care of vulnerable adults and those who lack capacity.