MA Health Care Law-LLM Health Law - Distance

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  • Objectives
    The programme aims to equip members of the medical, health care and legal professions with a sound knowledge of the different areas of health care law, which will enhance their ability to practice. Upon successful completion of the programme students will be able to: -Explain and critically assess the complexity of provisions comprising Health Care Law and its development -Critically evaluate the regulation of the health care institutions and professionals -Assess the difficult issues concerning legal liabilities of health care professionals and authorities, including civil liability and criminal liability -Explain and critically assess the current position of court remedies and sanctions in case of failure to comply with legal provisions -Carefully analyse contemporary legal and ethical issues, including the law of consent, unlawful death and the right to privacy -Assess and evaluate some crucial legal issues in health care law, e.g. mental health, the law of human reproduction, transplantation issues and the legal regulation of death and its aftermath -Outline the importance of human rights in the context of health care law -Apply knowledge to difficult situations of significant legal complexity, analyse facts and produce well-supported conclusions in relation to them.
  • Academic title
    MA Health Care Law/LLM Health Law
  • Course description
    MA Health Care Law/LLM Health Law

    Salford Law School is offering a two year distance-learning programme in Health Care Law leading to the degree of Master of Arts or Postgraduate Diploma, in Health Care Law and Master of Laws or Postgraduate Diploma in Health Law.

    The distance learning postgraduate programme leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Health Care Law or Master of Laws in Health Law addresses important legal and ethical issues of concern to any society including rights to health care and the duty to provide health care services; the regulation of health care institutions and professionals; liabilities of health care practitioners and authorities; treatment of vulnerable patients; mental health issues and rights of privacy.

    It is vital for all those involved as health care managers and professionals, as well as barristers and solicitors, to both know and understand this complex area of law. Political control of the health care professions is extending rapidly and the new reforms in the health care sector are likely to alter the legal environment within which the health care professions work. At the same time health care practitioners find themselves in an increasingly costly
    and litigious environment. Many lawyers specialise in clinical negligence and consequently are much concerned with the relationship between the health care professions and patients.

    The programme deals with the legal, management and ethical issues providing students with a broader understanding of the ‘law in context’ and equips students with a deeper understanding of the difficult and complex questions that will inevitably be raised.
    For the degree of Master of Arts or for Postgraduate Diploma in Health Care Law, applications are welcomed from candidates who hold a first or second class honours degree together with at least two years’ relevant experience in nursing, medicine, community care, pharmacy, health care management/administration, health care practice and related areas.

    For Master of Laws or Postgraduate Diploma in Health Law applications are welcomed from candidates who hold a first or second class law degree or equivalent, e.g. CPE/PgDip in law.

    Candidates who have not reached this standard but who have more than two years experience in the area may be considered for admission on the basis of individual merit.

    The admissions tutor will, in assessing applications for the programme, take into account evidence of motivation and commitment towards study, as well as evidence of intellectual ability.

    Study Programme

    Programme Structure

    The programme is structured around four modules and a dissertation.  The taught section lasts twenty months and the dissertation a further seven months.  The Postgraduate Diploma programme includes the same four modules structure and lasts twenty months. 

    Each of the modules lasts approximately twenty weeks and students are advised to study ten hours each week.

    There are six teaching sessions during the taught part of the programme.  The programme commences annually in September with a teaching session which will include an introduction to the programme and will aim to familiarise students with essential course reading, writing and research techniques session. Additionally there is a teaching session at the end of each module and before students commence their dissertation.   

    Programme Materials

    Students will receive their modules containing distance learning materials during the teaching sessions. Each of the modules consists of a substantial tutor written set of notes including an introduction to a particular module and to every unit within the module, self-assessment questions; tutorial questions; and a set of associated reading materials. Each module includes aims and objectives and learning outcomes which students are expected to achieve. The tutor written notes provide essential information on the area of study and refer students to relevant documents which are either enclosed in printed form or which students are required to locate themselves by using legal databases and e-library available to them.  The module notes are written in a style which is designed to attract the active participation of the students. 

    Teaching Sessions

    The distance learning aspect is combined with six teaching sessions during the course of study. Students will have the opportunity to listen to lectures, to participate in tutorials, to meet with their tutors and seek guidance on their dissertations. Please note that separate tutorials will be held, and different tutorial questions will be set for students studying for the MA and LLM degrees. During the teaching sessions, special emphasis will be given to the practical application of the material studied. Students will have the opportunity to participate in case studies, discussions and other exercises.

    Attendance at, and proper preparation for, these sessions is strongly recommended for all students, who will be expected to attend a minimum of three such events.

    The teaching sessions are held at the University of Salford at approximately four monthly intervals throughout the taught part of the course.  During the summer period students are given four extra weeks for holidays. 
    Student Support
     Distance learning is a method in which students must read, learn and assimilate the material at their own pace. In order to facilitate in this process the School provides students with additional learning facilities. Students will be provided with access to web-based legal databases including Lexis Nexis Butterworths, Westlaw and Lawtel.

    Students will be encouraged to use Blackboard as a significant aid to their studies. Online legal research tutorials will be provided for the students. A discussion board will be available to the students where they can discuss issues amongst themselves and with the programme tutors.

    Students will be able to contact tutors by telephone, fax, and e-mail.


    The programme is based upon the principle of continuous assessment rather than formal examinations. Students will be required to complete an assignment of not more than 6,000 words at the end of each of the four modules. Assignments will be based on a selection of questions covering the module units.

    Assignment questions will normally be issued approximately one month prior to the teaching sessions, where students are provided with further guidance and specific advice. Please note that LLM assignment questions will have a significant legal orientation.

    The assignments are anonymously marked and double-marked by different tutors and then are moderated both internally and externally to ensure consistency throughout the group.  Students receive individual paper-based feedback within six weeks of the submission date. The tutors then hold a group feedback session for all students at the subsequent teaching session.

    Once the four assignments have been successfully completed to the required standard, students will be entitled to proceed to the dissertation stage.

    A dissertation of 15,000 – 20,000 words must be submitted for both the degree of Master of Arts and the degree of Master of Laws.  Students will begin to work on their dissertation following the completion of the fourth assignment in May of the second year of the programme.  It is expected that dissertations will be completed in September of that academic year but an extension may be granted.

    The dissertation will be supervised by an appropriate member of the academic staff and is expected to comply with the normal academic criteria for postgraduate work. Students will be encouraged to begin the process of selecting an appropriate topic before the end of the taught component of the programme and the last teaching session will be specifically dedicated to the dissertation stage where students will have individual meetings with their supervisors who will provide assistance with the selection of a suitable research topic as well as with research techniques and methodology.  Thereafter students and supervisors will be expected to arrange regular communication, consultation and meetings where possible.

    Programme Outline
    Year 1

    Module 1 – Core (Weeks 1-19)

    Foundation Legal Module and Introduction to Health Care Law

    This module sets the legal and ethical context of the developing area of law referred to as Health Care Law.  An introduction to English Legal Systems is provided and the impact of membership of the European Union on the regulation of Health Care is considered.  The principal sources of Health Care Law are examined and the module explores the evolution of Health Care Law to embrace not only the relationship between patients and doctors, but also the wider health care profession and the administration and delivery of health care.  The development of Public Health Law is discussed, together with proposals for reform.  The module also provides an introduction to medical terminology and practice.  Finally, an overview of the role of ethical principles and the concept of rights is provided as a background to the subsequent modules.

    Unit 1.1           Legal Systems and Sources

    Unit 1.2           Introduction to Health Care Law: Scope and Sources

    Unit 1.3           Philosophy of Health Care Law and Introduction to Ethical Principles

    Unit 1.4           Rights to Health Care and the Duty to Provide Health Care Services

    Module 2 – Core (Weeks 20 – 39)

    Regulation of Health Care
    This module covers several important areas.  It begins with an outline of the organisation and structure of the National Health Service, which provides a general framework within which the regulation of the quality of healthcare is further considered.  This includes the regulation of health care institutions and professions.  The module then outlines the importance of the Human Rights Act 1998 in the context of health care law and ethics.  One of the aspects, which is considered in this context is the impact of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the rights of a patient to obtain his/her medical records or to prevent the disclosure of his/her medical history, which is considered in more detail at the end of the module together with other issues relating to medical records and the law of confidentiality. 

    Unit 2.1           The National Health Service Organisation and Structure

    Unit 2.2           Regulatory Framework of the Health Care Institutions

    Unit 2.3           Regulation of the Health Care Professions

    Unit 2.4           The Impact of Human Rights

    Unit 2.5           Medical Reports, Records, Privacy and Confidentiality

    Module 3 – Core (Weeks 40 - 63)

    Liabilities of Health Care Practitioners and Authorities
    The UK is now perceived to be a more litigious society and liability issues have become more crucial to health care practitioners, the authorities and their insurers.  This module examines the basis of liability in clinical negligence, as the primary basis of liability for malpractice, including the standard of care owed to patients by practitioners and health care authorities and institutions, with reference to the considerable body of case law which has emerged on the subject.  The complex issues surrounding the standard of care, causation and consent are given special attention.  The module is not confined to the liability of the NHS, but also considers liability of private providers.  The focus of the module is on liability under civil law, which is by far the most predominant form of liability, however interest in criminal liability has risen following successful convictions in high profile cases involving health care professionals. Issues surrounding criminal liability for malpractice are specifically addressed in Unit 3.4.

    Unit 3.1           Negligence and Duties Owed to Patients

    Unit 3.2           The Standard of Care and Causation

    Unit 3.3           The Law of Consent

    Unit 3.4           Criminal Liability and Coroners’ Inquests

    Unit 3.5           Other Systems and Models of Liability

    Module 4.1 – Optional (Weeks 64 – 84)

    Critical Issues in Health Care Law I: Treatment of Vulnerable Patients

    This module focuses on areas of law that make provision for care of vulnerable groups, including detained patients as defined by the Mental Health Act 1983, elderly people and children.  In this regard the module covers the duties and responsibilities of the local social services authorities and the rights of patients, the elderly and children.  One of the important issues addressed here is the rights of patients who belong to these vulnerable groups, particularly the rights of children in relation to their capacity to make decisions regarding their treatment. 

    Unit 4.1.1        General Provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983

    Unit 4.1.2        Responsibilities of Mental Health Care Services

    Unit 4.1.3        Care and Treatment of Patients and Detained Patients

    Unit 4.1.4        Care of the Elderly

    Unit 4.1.5        Children and the Law

    Module 4.2 – Optional (Weeks 64 – 84)

    Critical Issues in Health Care Law II: Law, Society and Ethics

    This module covers several important health care issues, which can only be considered in the light of societal developments, ethical and moral perceptions and the law.  The module starts with the developing and controversial area of human reproduction, including infertility and the management of pregnancy and birth control.  Organ donation and transplantation are other areas of interest that raise very important legal issues, especially in relation to the issue of consent.  The module then addresses end of life issues.  Finally, the module deals with medical research, pharmaceutical law and the production, preparation and prescription of drugs.

    Unit 4.2.1        The Law of Human Reproduction

    Unit 4.2.2        Organ Donation and Transplantation

    Unit 4.2.3        End of Life Issues

    Unit 4.2.4        Regulation of Medical Research

    Unit 4.2.5        Pharmaceutical Law

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