Advanced Diploma in Medical Law

Covid–19 Course Changes

All students will have the option of completing the entire course fully through distance learning in the academic year 2020–2021. Course materials and lectures will be available via our accessible Virtual Learning Environment. Students will also have access to a range of online legal databases and resources.

King’s Inns has the capacity to run all classes for the entire academic year using online learning systems if needs be and has invested in technology and training in order to ensure that the student learning experience during 2020–2021 will remain at the highest possible standard, whether teaching takes place online or in person.

In order to ensure the safety of students and staff, this course will be delivered fully online for all students until December 2020, with all teaching (including an interactive introduction to the course and an interactive tutorial) taking place online.

A decision as to whether the teaching for Hilary Term (starting January 2021) will take place in person or via online or blended learning will be made by the end of the previous term.

We know that social interaction with fellow students and expert speakers is an integral part of the King’s Inns experience, and we hope to offer students the option to attend classes in person from January 2021 if they wish and if public health conditions at the time permit. Lectures will continue to be recorded and all students will have the option to continue online attendance from then onwards. If it is not possible to permit in–person attendance from January, or at any point thereafter, teaching will continue online. It may be necessary for King’s Inns to revise or amend its approach at any time during the academic year based on the prevailing public health advice, and in so doing the safety of students and staff will be a key consideration. This means that it is possible that we might re–commence in person teaching only to be obliged to revert to online teaching only, should public health considerations warrant such a change.

Introduction

This course provides a comprehensive overview of Medical Law with a focus on both domestic and European in that area. Participants will develop an understanding of the practical application of Medical Law principles, the legal obligations on medical professionals and regulatory practice.

Medical practitioners should note that this course has been approved for 15 external CPD credits by the College of Psychiatrists in Ireland, on the basis of full attendance and completion of the course. External CPD credits approved by the medical training bodies in Ireland (College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Physicians, College of Anaesthetists and Irish College of General Practitioners) benefit from mutual recognition and approval as between those bodies.

Programme Aims and Learning Outcomes

This course aims to inform participants about the legal environment surrounding the medical professions in Ireland. In particular, participants will:

  • Develop a critical understanding of the theories, concepts, principles and policies underpinning medical law in Ireland;
  • Examine the legal framework in which medicine is carried out and consider its implication for clinical practice;
  • Identify situations which may give rise to legal claims;
  • Describe and explain the current legal issues affecting clinical practice and hospital management;
  • Examine the role of different actors and bodies in regulating the health care professions;
  • Use legal terminology relating to this area of the law competently and correctly;
  • Describe and explain key principles in this area;
  • Debate potential legislative reforms in this area
  • Identify factual, legal and practical issues arising in the context of a problem question scenario;
  • Formulate and present written and oral arguments.

Who is the course for?

This course will be suitable for clinical and managerial healthcare professionals who wish to improve their knowledge of medico–legal aspects of healthcare. It will also be of interest to lawyers working or seeking to improve their expertise in medical law, and to policy makers and regulators.

LEAD LECTURER AND COURSE DIRECTOR

The coordinator of the course is Colm Scott–Byrne BL.

Course Content and Delivery

Delivery is part–time over four modules (Friday evenings and Saturdays) plus one weekday evening.

Course Start Date: Friday 16 October 2020

All lectures except for the final “view from the bench” lecture will be recorded. Some other types of classroom session, including tutorials and panel discussions, will not be recorded. All sessions taking place before the end of 2020 will take place in an online format (whether online and live or online and recorded); students will have the option to complete most of the remaining sessions online via distance learning in the second term, regardless of whether King’s Inns is able to offer attendance in person in that term.

Lectures from high calibre experts, both legal and clinical, will be complemented by tutorials which will enable participants’ close focus and honing of skills most relevant to their own decision–making context. This course will provide valuable insights into the legal framework affecting medical practice in Ireland. Contributors will be top clinical and legal experts. Where possible, a service user perspective will be included.

All class notes are available online. Online tutorials and IT support are available to help students navigate their way through our Library and legal resource databases.

Course schedule:

Module 1: Friday 16 – Saturday 17 October

  • Course launch and introduction (NB this session will take place in a live online session on Friday 16 October at 5.45pm)
  • Principles of clinical negligence
  • Standard of care and causation in negligence
  • Clinical negligence issues: plaintiff and defendant perspectives
  • Tutorial 1 (online, not recorded, taking place on Saturday 17 October)

Module 2: Friday 13 – Saturday 14 November 2020

  • Expert evidence
  • Regulation of medicines
  • Medical confidentiality and medical records
  • Clinical research on humans and animals
  • Tutorial 2 (online, not recorded)

Module 3: Friday 22 – Saturday 23 January 2021

  • Regulation of healthcare professionals
  • Assisted Human Reproduction
  • Coroner’s Court
  • Health Practitioner and the Family
  • Tutorial 3 (not recorded)

Module 4: Friday 19 – Saturday 20 February 2021

  • Employment Issues in Health Care
  • Decision–Making at the Extremities of Life
  • Consent to Treatment
  • Mental Health Law
  • Mock Mental Health Tribunal and / or panel discussion on Mental Health Law (not recorded)

Final Lecture:

  • A view from the bench (not recorded).

Previous contributors to the course have included:

  • Professor Harry Kennedy
  • Professor Damian Mohan
  • Professor Patrick Plunkett
  • Dr Brian Farrell
  • Michael Boylan (Solicitor)
  • Mary Hough, Partner and Head of the Healthcare Team, Hayes Solicitors
  • Avril Scally, Partner, Lavelle Partners
  • Dr Ciarán Craven SC
  • Oonah McCrann SC
  • Dr Simon Mills SC
  • Asim Sheikh BL
  • Neasa Bird BL
  • Dr Andrea Mulligan BL
  • Mark Tottenham BL
  • Lyn McCarthy, Hayes Solicitors
  • Sarah McKechnie BL
  • Olive Doyle, Partner, Byrne Wallace
  • Áine Hynes, Partner, St John Solicitors
  • Mark Felton, Partner, Felton McKnight Solicitors
  • Kate Mitchell, Mental Health Reform

Assessment

Assessment will be via two written assignments, each worth 50% of the overall mark for the course.

Provisional assessment schedules: Assessment 1 will be released after the first two weekends and assessment 2 after the final 2 weekends.

Course Fee

Course fee: €2,350. View King’s Inns fee structure here.

Barrister–at–Law graduates who are subscribing members to King’s Inns receive a 10% discount on this course. View more information here.

How do I Apply?

There are no admission requirements for this course. 

Application Deadline: Extended to midnight on Monday, 28 September 2020.

Apply here

Your place on the course will not be secured until payment is received in full.

Payment can be made through the application portal using your credit / debit card. If your employer is paying for your studies, you will require a PO number, the name and email address for the person responsible for payment in your organisation. The invoice will issue directly to the person whose details you enter. You will also be able to download a copy of the invoice through the application portal.

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WHAT DO PREVIOUS STUDENTS SAY?

Sarah Lee

“It has been the best course I have completed in years. Would highly recommend anyone working in the healthcare service to complete. I have applied the medical law learning daily in my work. Look forward to doing more law courses!” (Class of 2019–2020)

Sarah Lee, Occupational Therapist

Colin McMahon

“The advanced diploma in medical law is an excellent course to equip oneself with a broad spectrum of knowledge on current relevant medicolegal issues. I would strongly recommend it.” (Class of 2019–2020)

Colin McMahon, Paediatric Cardiologist