Fixed Points in a Changing Age? The Council of Europe, Human Rights, and the Regulation of New Health Technologies
M Flear, AM Farrell, T Hervey, T Murphy (eds) European Law and New Health Technologies (OUP 2013)
Posted: 1 Apr 2013
Date Written: March 27, 2013
The key questions in this chapter are first, to what extent has the Council of Europe been involved with regulation of new health technologies (NHTs) and second, what is the nature of its interventions? The chapter focuses on the theme of (human) rights, though it also addresses ethical issues when we come to discuss dignity. Technological change may seem to threaten the status of human rights as fundamental standards — much less fixed points — in political democracies, with authors wondering how human rights can survive the challenge of rapidly evolving technology, or even how human rights might be meaningful in a ‘posthuman’ age.
In addressing these questions, the chapter is structured as follows. Part B describes the system of multilevel regulation within the Council of Europe, identifying the relevant Council of Europe institutions and texts. Part C considers the importance of flexibility and variability in the Council’s interventions relating to NHTs; a particular focus is the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the margin of appreciation doctrine. The theme of rights and especially autonomy-related rights (non-interference, privacy, etc.) is the subject of Part D; equality rights and the right to health are also considered. Part E examines how the Council treats dignity. Part F revisits some of the governance related discussion of the earlier sections, highlighting the Council’s standards that encourage public discussion of these sensitive questions.
Keywords: human rights, dignity, new health technologies, European law, Council of Europe, bioethics, medical law, health law, law and medicine
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation