Scotland’s assisted suicide Bill is laudable, but is poorly drafted

25 March 2014

By Isra Black, King’s College London

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

The Scottish Parliament is currently considering a Bill on physician-assisted suicide that has been submitted by independent Scottish member Margo MacDonald. One of the most popular MSPs in Holyrood and a sufferer from Parkinson’s disease, this is MacDonald’s second attempt to get such a law on to the statute book after her previous bill was defeated in 2010.

The Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill would decriminalise physician-assisted suicide (PAS) for registered medical patients in Scotland over 16 who regard their quality of life as unacceptable as a result of an illness or progressive condition that they consider terminal or life-shortening. Unlike MacDonald’s previous Bill, it expressly prohibits euthanasia – the deliberate killing of another to avoid future suffering.

Scots Law does not have a specific criminal offence banning encouragement or assistance to suicide, unlike in England and Wales, where Lord Falconer is sponsoring an assisted suicide Bill that is due to be read in the Lords later in the year.

Nevertheless helping someone to commit suicide, for example by deliberately supplying medication used to lethal effect, could potentially be treated as a serious crime. It might lead to prosecution for culpable homicide – the Scottish equivalent of manslaughter – or even murder.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lecture: Transplants: Saving Lives, Money and Misery

17 January 2014

Centre of Medical Law and Ethics, King’s College London

Lent Lecture

Series theme: The Role of the Personal in Medical Ethics and Law

Transplants: Saving Lives, Money and Misery
by Graham Brushett, organ recipient and former lay member of the UK Donation Ethics Committee

Date: Thursday 30 January 2014

Time: 13.00 – 14.00

Location: Somerset House East Wing Room 1.18, King’s College London

All welcome, free of charge

Job: Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Law at Northumbria

17 November 2013

Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Law
Northumbria University -Faculty of Business and Law

Ref BAL13/04
Full Time
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Salary: £37,382 – £45,941

Northumbria is a thriving research engaged, business focused, professional university with a firm ambitious vision. Working within the Law School, you will join a team of highly qualified academics with a passion for enhancing the student experience.

The successful candidate will join the award winning Law School and will contribute to research informed learning and teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels with a particular emphasis on Mental Health Law. You will undertake research and scholarly activities contributing to the Faculty’s research profile, together with contributing to consultancy, income generation and business development activities, including providing specialist Mental Health training to external professionals.

With excellent interpersonal skills, you must be able to demonstrate expertise in and knowledge of Mental Health Law including the Mental Health Act 1983 and the Mental Capacity Act and be able to teach effectively on a range of academic and professional programmes using a variety of approaches to student learning. Appropriately professionally qualified, you must have commenced or be willing to undertake doctoral study and subsequent research.

For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Helen Kingston, Director of Legal Services on 0191 227 3828 or by email

To download an Application Form please click on the ‘Apply’ button below.

Northumbria University is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sectors of the community.

Closing Date: 03 January 2014

Job: Policy Analyst (Biomedical Law and Regulation)

7 November 2013

Policy Analyst (Biomedical Law and Regulation)
PHG Foundation

Cambridge, UK
£35 – 40K per annum plus benefits
Full time or part time (min 28 hours p.w.)

The PHG Foundation is looking for a talented and enthusiastic professional with a legal background who is passionate about seeing biomedical research translated effectively into healthcare. Working as part of a multidisciplinary team, your role will be to provide sound legal and regulatory analysis for the Foundation’s health policy projects.

We are open-minded about background, but you must have a good first degree in law, social science, philosophy or similar subject; an excellent grasp of the legal, regulatory and ethical landscape around genomics and health; and first class analytical, drafting and communication skills. A postgraduate qualification in medical law, ethics or similar would be a distinct advantage but, most importantly, you must be able to transfer your academic grounding into actionable policy applications.

You will be an excellent networker and have the personal qualities to work creatively and effectively in a small team of highly-motivated colleagues who are committed to developing the PHG Foundation as an international health policy institute.

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

The deadline for applications is 5pm, Thursday 14 November 2013. Interviews will be held in Cambridge on 25 November 2013.

Job: Teaching Associate (Maternity Cover) at Bristol University

14 October 2013

School of Social and Community Medicine

Salary: £34,223 per annum pro rata (0.8 FTE)

Closing date for applications: 21-Oct-2013

The Teaching Associate will work within the Centre for Ethics in Medicine in the School of Social and Community Medicine (Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry). The post has been created to cover for the maternity leave of current post holder, between 25 November 2012 and 1 January 2015. The Teaching Associate will primarily cover the teaching (and related management) responsibilities of the current post holder on the MBChB (Medicine) and the BSc (Hons) in Bioethics. Important parts of the work of the Teaching Associate will involve leading the Ethics and Law Element in the Year One (MBChB) Human Basis of Medicine Programme and assisting in directing and co-ordinating the intercalated BSc (Hons) in Bioethics. The Teaching Associate will also teach on the part-time MSc Health Care Ethics and Law, help with plans to revise this and other programmes on ethics and law, and teach in other elements of the Ethics and Law Vertical Theme in the MBChB programme. In view of these tasks we are looking for a bioethicist, philosopher or lawyer who has good knowledge of biomedical ethics and law, and who is able to teach and co-ordinate teaching of these disciplines at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

More details here.


18 September 2013

KCL and UCL now have a substantial number of faculty and PhD students working in bioethics, broadly construed. This colloquium aims to facilitate high-level discussion among these scholars and link individuals and groups across KCL, UCL, and beyond.

Topics range from traditional questions in medical ethics and law to ethical issues in the design of health systems at the national and global level (public health ethics / global health ethics).

When? First Thursday of the month, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, with the possibility to go for drinks afterwards. Two sessions per term, starting in the fall of 2013.

Where? Alternating between KCL and UCL.

Contact: Annette Rid, James Wilson

FALL 2013

3 October 2013, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

Moot Court, UCL Laws, Bentham House – Endsleigh Gardens – London WC1H 0EG

Jonathan Wolff: Paying people to act in their own interests: incentives versus rationalisation

Continuing session in the Lord John Russell

7 November 2013, 4:00 – 5:30 pm


Genevra Richardson: Mental disability and human rights: can principle ever serve global reality?

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Petrie-Flom Academic Fellowships, 2014-2016

18 September 2013

PURPOSE: The Academic Fellowship is a postdoctoral program specifically designed to identify, cultivate, and promote promising scholars early in their careers. Fellows are selected from among recent graduates, young academics, and mid-career practitioners who are committed to spending two years at the Center pursuing publishable research that is likely to make a significant contribution to the field of health law policy, medical innovation policy, or bioethics. For more information about current and past fellows, please visit the Fellowship Programs section of our website.

ELIGIBILITY: By the start of the fellowship term, applicants must hold an advanced degree in a discipline that they intend to apply to issues falling under the Center’s umbrella. The Center particularly encourages applications from those who intend to pursue careers as tenure-track law professors, but will consider any applicant who demonstrates an interest and ability to produce outstanding scholarship at the intersection of law and health policy, bioethics, or biotechnology during the term of the fellowship. Applicants will be evaluated by the quality and probable significance of their research proposals, and by their record of academic and professional achievement.

APPLICATION: Applications will be accepted from September 16, 2013 through November 18, 2013.

Calls for application to the Fellowship Program are released in late summer in the year preceding the appointment start date. The Call for Applications for 2014-2016 is now available. Review of applications will begin on November 18, 2013. Applications submitted before the final deadline will not be reviewed early. For further information, contact us by email.

For more information, see the full call for applications here.


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