Law and Ethics at the Start and End of Life

Course summary

This course provides students with an opportunity to apply their knowledge about fundamentals in medical law and ethics to dilemmas arising across the human lifecycle, from start to end of life. It will draw upon and deepen your understanding of the core concepts, roles and responsibilities covered earlier in the programme.


  1. Moral & legal status of persons
  2. Reproductive autonomy
  3. Human reproduction & legal liabilities
  4. Assisted reproduction
  5. Regulation of the human body
  6. Death
  7. Transplantation
  8. Futility
  9. End of life 1
  10. End of life 

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should:

  • demonstrate a critical understanding of the wide range of legal and ethical conflicts that arise in the practice of modern medicine and which are specifically associated with the start and end of life;
  • apply knowledge, skills and understanding of the terms and issues applicable to law and ethics at the beginning and end of life;
  • develop well-reasoned arguments in response to issues arising from the interaction of medicine, law and ethics at the beginning and end of life;
  • utilise concise and effective communication skills to engage in debates with colleagues from different backgrounds;
  • manage complex legal, ethical and professional issues to make informed judgements on the role of law in all of these areas, as well as considering alternatives, including those followed in other jurisdictions.


4,000 word essay (60%) and 1,000 word written medico-legal debate exercise (40%).

Terms and conditions

Please note the University reserves the right to make variations to the contents of programmes, including the range of courses offered, and the available choice of courses in any given year may change.

Find out more about the University's terms and conditions