Book Review: Ethical Judgments: Re-Writing Medical Law

Posted: 10 Sep 2018

See all articles by Bernadette Richards

Bernadette Richards

University of Adelaide - School of Law

Date Written: August 16, 2018


Medical law and medical ethics sit side by side, sometimes in harmony and sometimes uncomfortably. At other times they become hopelessly intertwined, and the reality is that this is neither a consistent nor comfortable relationship. As Ward LJ reminded us in Re A(Children) (Conjoined Twins: Medical Treatment) [2000] 4 All ER 961, the court is one of law, not morals (969). And it is from this quote that the editors of the collection begin their ‘extended thought experiment’, inviting the reader to accompany them into their ‘alternate world … opened up by asking what if’ and taking the potentially bold step of undertaking a re-writing of health law with judgments grounded in ethical theory, ensuring that decisions are ethically defensible.The book thus mirrors activities undertaken in many university classrooms where the significance of ethical principles and ethical decision-making are considered and the essential nature of the application of the law to increasingly complex conflicts around medical treatment is challenged. Not only does the book ask what is the role of ethics in the judicial consideration of these issues, but what ought it be?

Keywords: book review, Ethical, Judgments, Re-writing Medical Law

JEL Classification: K30, K32, K39, K00

Suggested Citation

Richards, Bernadette, Book Review: Ethical Judgments: Re-Writing Medical Law (August 16, 2018). European Journal of Health Law, Vol. 25, No. 1-3, 2018, University of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2018-108, Available at SSRN:

Bernadette Richards (Contact Author)

University of Adelaide - School of Law ( email )

Adelaide, South Australia 5005

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