Radio: iPM on a patient with capacity having her life-sustaining pacemaker deactivated

27 September 2016

Last year, the Radio 4 programme iPM ran an item about an adult patient with capacity seeking to have her pacemaker deactivated:

“Who can make decisions about a pacemaker once it’s in my body?’ – After a listener got in touch with an ethical dilemma, we explore what the UK law says about switching off pacemakers and other implanted medical devices.”

Last week, the programme updated the story with details of the deactivation and eventual death of the patient.

“The listener who fought for her pacemaker to be turned off and the US doctor who helps to stop his dying patients’ hearts.”



Seminar: Who should we treat? Rare diseases, universal health coverage and children’s right to health

27 September 2016

10 October 2016, 16:00-17:30.

London Bioethics Colloquium – first speaker in the academic year

King’s College London, Strand Campus, Somerset House East Wing, SW1.17 (Ante Room)

Octavio Ferraz (Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London)

All are welcome, no need to register.


Diary dates for the academic year 2016-17
7 November 2016, 16:00-17:30
University College London, location TBC

Jochen Vollmann (Ruhr University Bochum): Personalised medicine: priority-setting and opportunity costs at an international scale

5 December 2016, 16:00-17:30
King’s College London, Strand Campus, Somerset House East Wing, SW1.18 (Moot Court)

Arnon Keren (University of Haifa / King’s College London): Autonomy, ignorance and informed consent


6 February 2017, 16:00-17:30
King’s College London, location TBC

Garrett Brown (University of Sheffield): An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: Global health justice and the new global health emergency financing facilities’

6 March 2016, 16:00-17:30
University College London, location TBC

Emily McTernan (University College London): title TBC

Forum: Human Rights and Development

27 September 2016
Friday 28 October 2016.
Great Hall, Strand campus, King’s College London
The Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy and Law is delighted to announce the first of three Law & Justice Fora for the academic year 2016-17. The first forum is on the topic ‘Human Rights and Development’, and will feature some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the world working at the interface of human rights and development.
The aim of this forum is to address the place that human rights have in rigorous and effective thinking about development policy. There will be a special focus on the socio-economic rights, such as the rights to health, food and education etc. found in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966).
Among the questions to be discussed will be the following:

How should we understand the concepts of ‘human rights’ and ‘development’?

Is there a fundamental antagonism between human rights and development economics, or can the two approaches be reconciled?
Are socio-economic rights coherent and well-grounded norms? Are they obstacles to, or enablers of, development?
How is the content of a right such as the right to health to be specified? who bears the associated obligations?
What is the idea of ‘minimum core obligations’ of human rights? does it impose a strait-jacket on development by ignoring differences among states?
How can we devise reliable statistical indicators of human rights fulfilment? Can we avoid the metric usurping the place of the thing being measured?
Can human rights law and legal practitioners make an important contribution to development, or should they vacate the field in favour of development economics and its practitioners?

The forum is open to all and will be structured so as to facilitate engagement between the speakers and those in attendance.

9.30: Welcome: Principal of King’s College London, Professor Edward Byrne and the Director of the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy & Law: Professor John Tasioulas

9.45-11.00: Session 1 Socio-Economic Rights & Development

Speaker: Sakiko Fukuda-Parr (New School, NYC) / Commentator: tbc

11.15-12.30: Session 2 The Human Right to Health

Speaker: Paul Hunt (University of Essex) / Commentator: Octavio Ferraz (King’s College London)

12.30-2.00: Lunch

2.00-3.00: Interview with Professor Amartya Sen (Harvard University)

by John Tasioulas (King’s College London)

3.15-4.30: Session 3: Minimum Core Obligations

Speaker: John Tasioulas (King’s College London) / Commentator: Max Harris (All Souls College, Oxford)

4.30-5.45: Session 4: Indicators, Development, Human Rights

Speaker: Sabina Alkire (George Washington University) / Commentator: Colleen Murphy (University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign)

6.00-7.30: Session 5: The Twilight of Human Rights Law? Speaker: Eric Posner (University of Chicago Law School) / Commentators: Michael Ignatieff (Central European University, Budapest), Onora O’Neill (University of Cambridge), Guglielmo Verdirame (King’s College London)

Workshop: Valuing Expertise – Legal, Normative and Social Dimensions

20 September 2016

The W.G. Hart Legal Workshop is a major annual legal research event organised and hosted by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Over the years this eponymous workshop series, subsidised by funds from the W.G. Hart Bequest, has focused on a wide range of comparative and international legal issues and topical interests.
The W.G. Hart Legal Workshop 2016 entitled: Valuing Expertise: Legal, Normative and Social Dimensions – will be held at the Institute from Tuesday 20 September 2016 to Wednesday 21 September 2016.

From expert evidence in the courtroom, to the use of scientific knowledge in the justification for, and framing of, legislation, law and science are inextricably intertwined. Yet the extent to which science is well represented in law has long been doubted by virtue of a ‘clash of cultures’ (Jasanoff 1992). The issue has become more pressing in recent years due to the growth of scientific and technological innovation, which draws into the adjudicative, legislative and policy realms areas of great scientific complexity for which legal expertise, in and of itself, proves insufficient (Vick 2004; Schrama 2011). Such work also highlights the significant barriers and obstacles for regulators understanding other disciplines and the problems that can result. The same dangers confront non-legal disciplinary experts that are drawn into, or whose work is ‘dropped’ in, the legal and political realms.

This workshop seeks to bring together a range of scholars, policy actors and others, whose diverse and innovative work addresses the complex meeting point of law and science, regulation and politics, evidence and epistemology.

Academic Directors

  • Professor Richard Ashcroft (Queen Mary University of London)
  • Dr Nicolette Priaulx (Cardiff University)
  • Professor Matthew Weait (University of Portsmouth)

Keynote and Plenary Speakers

  • Professor Geoffrey Samuel (University of Kent)
  • Professor Roger Cotterrell (Queen Mary University of London)
  • Professor Barbara Prainsack (King’s College London)
  • Dr Emilie Cloatre (Kent Law School)
  • Professor Rob Evans (Cardiff University),
  • Professor Jonathan Montgomery (UCL),
  • Professor Stijn Smismans (Cardiff University)
  • Professor Christina Boswell (Edinburgh)

Workshop sessions will include:

  • Valuing Expertise: Legal, Normative and Social Dimensions;
  • Clashing or Constitutive Worlds? The Relationship Between Science, Technology and Law;
  • Measuring Expertise;
  • Law, Risk and Expertise;
  • Identifying Expertise: Voices That Matter;
  • Law, Expertise and Behavioural Theory;
  • EU Policy-Making and Expertise;
  • Courting Expertise;
  • Uses of Expertise: Empirical Investigations

REGISTRATION:   For booking and online payments, please click here.

  • Workshop Fees:
  • Standard Rate: £120.00 for two days and £75.00 for one day.
  • Concessionary Rate (for students, Workshop speakers and chairs, and SALS members): £70.00 for two days and £50.00 for one day

Please see the IALS Events Calendar for further information on Valuing Expertise: Legal, Normative and Social Dimensions (W G Hart Legal Workshop 2016), including the workshop programme.

Job: Lecturer in Bioethics

4 August 2016

The Monash University Centre for Human Bioethics seeks to fill a continuing position as Lecturer to be taken up (preferably) by January 2017.

The successful candidate will contribute to the undergraduate and
postgraduate teaching programs of the Centre for Human Bioethics,
coordinate one of the centre’s teaching programs, carry out original and
innovative research, and apply for competitive external research grant
funding.  She or he will be an early career scholar with a track record,
relative to opportunity, demonstrating outstanding research and teaching
potential, with experience teaching applied ethics to undergraduate and/or
postgraduate students. This open field search welcomes applications from
candidates in all areas of specialisation in philosophical bioethics.

Applications are due 22 August 2016.

For more information and application instructions, see:

BBC4 Radio: Permanent Vegetative State: Withdrawing Nutrition and Hydration

4 August 2016

Series 12 of ‘Inside the Ethics Committee’ begins today, August 4th 2016.

A young man, Ben, is critically injured in a road traffic accident and is left in a coma. The family are desperate to save him but, despite the efforts of his medical team, he doesn’t recover. He emerges from a coma into a vegetative state. He fluctuates between periods of sleep and wakefulness but is completely unaware of his surroundings. After a year, the vegetative state he is in is deemed to be permanent. Unable to articulate his wishes himself, Ben’s family consider what is in his best interests. They believe he would find his day-to-day existence intolerable. He can breathe for himself so the only treatment keeping him alive is the nutrition and hydration that he receives through a feeding tube into his stomach. With no prospect of recovery, is it ethical to withdraw the nutrition and hydration that is keeping him alive?

For further details or to listen on iPlayer go here.

Seminar series: Towards a European understanding of advance decision-making: a comparative, interdisciplinary approach

4 August 2016

1st & 2nd September 2016, University of Leeds

This research seminar series considers a range of European legislative responses to anticipatory decision-making, seeking to explore those responses within the practical contexts within which advance decision-making occurs. It links legal discourse with policy and practice discourses, and considers how a shared understanding of the purpose and potential for anticipatory decision-making may facilitate the drafting of advance decisions that both reflect the author’s intentions and are likely to be capable of implementation by healthcare professionals at a later date. It is generously funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC).


The fourth seminar in the series will take place on 1st September 2016, focussing upon how advance decisions capable of implementation can be created and their role within the advance care planning context.

The following papers will be presented:

Dr. Kristian Pollock, University of Nottingham, “The implementation of Advance Care Planning in Community Health Care Settings.”

Prof. Sue Wilkinson & Celia Kitzinger, University of York, “Advance Decisions Assistance (ADA): Lessons from our first year.”

Rachel Hutchings, Compassion in Dying, “Preparing an Advance Decision – Learning from Compassion in Dying.”

Steve Bell, Motor Neurone Disease Association, “Advance decision-making, the MND context.”

This seminar is free, but there is a charge of £18 to cover the cost of lunch and refreshments payable on the day. The seminar will take place at Shibden Mill, Halifax. HX3 7UL.  Registration is required. To register for seminar four please click here.


The fifth seminar in the series will take place on 2nd September 2016, focussing upon how advance decisions capable of implementation can be created and their role within the advance care planning context.

The following papers will be presented:

Dr Marike E. de Boer, VU University, Netherlands: “Advance directives in dementia care – from the perspective of people with dementia”

Dr Arnd May, Zentrum für Angewandte Ethik, Germany: “Ethical perspectives on Advance Directives – Stability of patients wishes”

For further information please see the series website here.

This seminar is free, but there is a charge of £18 to cover the cost of lunch and refreshments payable on the day. The seminar will take place at Shibden Mill, Halifax. HX3 7UL.  Registration is required, to register for seminar five please click here.

For further information please see the series website here.