A Vulnerability-based Account of Professional Responsibility
33 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2016 Last revised: 22 Apr 2018
Date Written: September 18, 2016
In a bid to expose the risks inherent in the progressive conflation of professional responsibility with that of expert service providers in general, this paper highlights the specific vulnerability at stake in the lay-professional relationship. Whether it be through objectification or infantilisation, the vulnerability inherent in the circumstances that prompt recourse to a professional can all too easily be exploited in a way that compromises a lay person’s ability to deploy her sense of self. It is hoped that this paper will contribute to a wider transformation of the Courts’ apprehension of the vulnerabilities at stake in the lay-professional relationship. Recent healthcare jurisprudence may indeed be said to contain the seeds of what could turn out to be a wider shift enabling the Courts -notably through a professions-wide 'duty to consult'- to move away from their traditional focus on epistemic vulnerability (and information disclosure).
Keywords: professions, ethics, vulnerability, duty to consult, professional responsibility, Montgomery, healthcare
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