skip to content

Medicine and the Rule of Law

5:00pm-6:30pm on Thursday 21 March

Times shown are in GMT (UTC +0) up to the 26th March. For events on or after 27th March times are in BST (UTC +1).

Faculty of Law, Lecture Theatre 18 Sidgwick Site, 10 West Road, CB3 9DZ

Lawyers often remind us that doctors must be subject to the law like everyone else. However some lawyers are less well attuned to the demands the Rule of Law makes on their own work. To defend the role of judges in overseeing health care this must be addressed. From ‘culture wars’ in the prescription of puberty blockers (Bell v Tavistock) through cessation of treatment for severely ill infants (Great Ormond Street Hospital v Yates), physician-assisted dying (Nicklinson, Conway), communicating with patients (McCulloch, Montgomery) and many other issues – the courts must take care when ruling to protect their independence, and to retain public trust. The Rule of Law is not just an essential political idea, it is also a rigorous technical discipline. If judges do not respect its demands, the result is an undignified inter-professional turf war that risks doctors being ruled by lawyers, not by the Rule of Law.

This year, Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery (University College London) will speak on Medicine and the rule of law. He will challenge lawyers (especially judges) to improve the way they respect the rule of law, to avoid doctors and medicine being ruled by lawyers rather than by the Rule of Law. In doing so, he expects to traverse high profile court cases on prescription of puberty blockers, cessation of treatment for severely ill infants, physician assisted dying, communication with patients, and many other issues.

Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery is Professor of Health Care Law at University College London. He has made significant contributions to the field of Health Care Law and is widely considered to have redefined the subject area. He has been a leader in the UK in public bioethics and was awarded a knighthood in the 2019 New Year’s Honours for Services to Bioethics and Healthcare Law. Professor Montgomery is currently chair of Oxford University Hospitals NHSFT and co-chair of the Moral and Ethical Advisory Group within the Department of Health and Social Care. His previous chair roles include chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (2012-17), chair of the Health Research Authority (2012-19) and national chair roles on the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards (2005-14) and the Human Genetics Commission (2009-12).

Booking/Registration is: REQUIRED

Additional Information

Age: All Ages
Format: Talk
Timing: In person, Live Stream
Cost: Free
Event Capacity: 150 in-person + unlimited online
Theme: Society, Health
Accessibility: Lift, Step-free access

You might also like...

Read more at: inReach: A mixed media exhibition of lived expertise

inReach: A mixed media exhibition of lived expertise

9:00am-5:00pm on weekdays from Monday 18 March until Friday 12 April except on Bank Holidays
In person
All Ages

inReach (an inversion of ‘outreach’) considers the creative work of those usually closed off from academic and artistic production because of...