Assisted dying and the context of debate: 'medical law' versus 'end-of-life law'


Coggon, John (2010) Assisted dying and the context of debate: 'medical law' versus 'end-of-life law'. [in special issue: Legal Challenges and New Horizons for Medicalised Death and Dying] Medical Law Review, 18, (4), 541-563. (doi:10.1093/medlaw/fwq028). (PMID:21098048).

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Description/Abstract

This paper provides a reflective analysis of the nature of normative critiques of law generally, and within medical law specifically. It first seeks to establish the context within which critical analysis of law and legal measures takes place, and develops an argument that critiques should focus on political norms. Entailed in this claim is the contention that positions that seek to address controversial social problems can not resort simply to moral philosophy. It then provides a brief account of political liberalism that can contain and expose normative constraints on questions of moral and social contention. The focus then moves to a more direct reflection on medico-legal analysis. Considering both medical law as a discipline, and the study of end-of-life issues, the argument highlights the range of relevant issues that must be accounted for, and addresses the question of whether these are well conceived as ones of medical law. It is argued that a political framing offers a good general analytic context, but that when working in legal sub-disciplines analysts risk allowing ‘locally’ pertinent norms to dominate or unduly constrain wider debate. Thus it is questioned whether ‘medical law’ provides a coherent frame for social questions related to assisted-dying.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0967-0742 (print)
1464-3790 (electronic)
Keywords: assisted-dying, euthanasia, assisted suicide, physician-assisted suicide, medical law, end of life law, political theory, socio-legal analysis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical jurisprudence. Legal medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Law > Southampton Law School
ePrint ID: 342813
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2012 15:24
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 20:25
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/342813

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