Assisted Dying - LAWS9480

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 7 20 (10) Pamela White checkmark-circle


The curriculum will focus on the ethical and legal issues of organ donation, assisted dying, autonomy at the end of life, euthanasia, withdrawal of treatment, medical futility, palliative care, advance decision-making and appropriate limits of end of life care and medical assistance in dying. Topics covered will include contested definitions of death (brain death, cardiac death) and somatic treatment; dignity in life and death; regulation of Do Not resuscitate orders and Advance Directives; withdrawal of end-of-life treatments; best interests of the braindead patient, minimally conscious and patient in a permanent vegetative state; UK and international regulation of euthanasia, assisted suicide, medical assistance in dying and palliative care


Contact hours

Private Study: 182
Contact Hours: 18
Total: 200


Optional to the following courses: LLM in (Specialisation); LLM in Law; PG Diploma in (Specialisation); PG Certificate in Law.
Also available as an elective module:- Available to other PGT students on a case-by-case basis (permission of the module convenor and Division/School in which the student is registered)

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Option 1
Coursework - Literature Review (1000 words) – 20%
Coursework - Essay (4000 words) – 80%

Option 2
Coursework - Essay (5000 words) - 100%

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

Jackson E., Text and Materials in Medical Law (5th edition, 2019) OUP.
Huxtable R., Euthanasia, Ethics and the Law: From Conflict to Compromise (2007) Routledge Cavendish.
Lewis P., Assisted Dying and Legal Change (2007) OUP.
Andrews J., 'Keeping older women safe from harm' 25(1) Feminism & Psychology (2015).
Gold I., Herring J. and Auckland C (2019)., Parental Rights, Best Interests and Significant Harms, Hart.
Pope T., Medical Aid in Dying and Dementia Directives 4 Canadian Journal of Bioethics 2021.
White B., Willmott L., Downie J.& Close E.'Withholding and Withdrawing Potentially Life-Sustaining Treatment: Who Should Decide?' in Ian Freckelton I.(ed) (2017), Tensions and Traumas in Health law (Leichardt, Australia: Federation Press.

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the legal regulation of death and dying and the ethical principles upon which this regulation is based.
8.2 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of human rights law as it applies to the legal regulation of death and dying, including euthanasia and palliative care.
8.3 Demonstrate critical insight into the broader social, political and economic factors that impact on the legal regulation of death and dying and palliative care.
8.4 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of current and continuing debates over the appropriate limits upon regulation of euthanasia, death and dying and assisted dying autonomy

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Critically evaluate the application and practice of law within different contexts and from different perspectives
9.2 Identify relevant issues from complex factual situations
9.3 Undertake independent and original research
9.4 Formulate reasoned, critical arguments – demonstrating originality in the application of knowledge
9.5 Analyse complex issues from a range of different theoretical perspectives and disciplinary approaches


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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