Archive for the ‘2015’ Category

Honouring the Contributions of a Founder of Medical Law

In 2015, Conferences, Uncategorized on December 14, 2015 at 9:29 am

Prof. John Coggon

On Friday 4th December, Hazel Biggs, David Gurnham, and I attended a meeting arranged at the University of Manchester to honour the contribution that Margot Brazier has made to the field of Medical Law. It is hard to describe in full enough terms the impact that Margot has had on legal scholarship, understanding, and practice. And even if we limit ourselves to the major area of study that she has pioneered—medical law—it is hard to capture quite how much she has given.

Margot is the quintessential scholar. She excels in her research, as a teacher, and as a figure engaged in significant questions of public ethics and policy. Just consider the research interests of each of HEAL’s core members in the Law School—Hazel Biggs, John Coggon, David Gurnham, Caroline Jones, Natasha Hammond-Browning, Claire Lougarre, Remigius Nwabueze, and A.M. Viens. Not one of us works in a field to which Margot has not offered significant insights and understanding. To repeat a term already used, she is a true pioneer: as was recognised both on the day, and in a festschrift that has been published in her honour.

The conference was a fantastic tribute to Margot’s great work. Hazel was amongst those speaking, but all who attended were able to attest to how much we owe Margot. Lady Hale’s foreword to the festschrift, which was the basis of her speech at the conference, provides in duly flattering terms the essence of what it is that has led to Margot inspiring, encouraging, supporting, mentoring, and advising so many of us in the field. She is a fantastic scholar, whose work—and approach to life—is founded on an uncompromising and deep-seated humanity.

As a whole research centre, we at HEAL are delighted to report our participation in this landmark event, and to thank Margot more than wholeheartedly for having helped define this field of study: I am sure it is fair to say that at least I, if not others in the Centre, would not be here without Margot.

Southampton Law School PhD Scholarships

In 2015, Uncategorized on December 3, 2015 at 8:19 am

A little bit left-field for a HEAL blog post, but in the interests of disseminating to a wider audience, and encouraging future Health Care Law and Ethics PhD students, please find details below & on jobs.ac.uk of scholarships at Southampton Law School. Please note the closing date is 11 January 2016.


Southampton Law School has Studentships available for postgraduate research students admitted full time onto its MPhil/PhD programme and commencing their studies in October 2016. The studentships will last for a maximum of three years (subject to an annual review of progress) and will provide a maintenance allowance of £14,000 per annum, in addition to payment of tuition fees. Successful candidates will be expected to contribute up to 40 hours per year of teaching activities, at the discretion of the Head of School. The awards are available in any area of legal research for which the School can offer expert supervision. This includes (but is not limited to) areas connected to the School’s research centres:

Centre for European Law 
Centre for Health Ethics and Law 
Centre for Law, Ethics and Globalisation 
Institute of Criminal Justice Research
Institute for Law and the Web 
Institute of Maritime Law 
Insurance Law Group 

For further information on the work of these Centres, see here

Please note the following:

Tuition fees will be paid in full by the School. 

  • To be eligible for consideration, the full application must be submitted by the submission deadline of Monday 11 January 2016. This includes the standard application form, research proposal, CV, and other supporting documentation (transcripts, reference letters, IELTS certificates where necessary, etc.). For the avoidance of doubt, if any of the documents listed have not been submitted by the closing date you will not be eligible for the scholarship.
  • You will also need to allow time to participate in an interview (the interview may take place shortly after the application deadline of Monday 11 January 2016) and for your prospective supervisor(s) to provide a statement of support.
  • These studentships are for full time candidates only. If you are awarded this studentship and transfer to part time registration, you will be deemed to have withdrawn from the studentship.

The Southampton Law School is a vibrant, research-led department. It has a growing and active community of postgraduate research students whose research extends to all areas of the School’s expertise. For further information on our research degrees, including profiles of current students and the application process, see here.
Applicants must apply online, following the normal process, for admission to the MPhil/PhD programme, stating that they wish to be considered for the studentship, by Monday 11 January 2016.
Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Emma Laurie, PGR Programme Director, at Emma.Laurie@soton.ac.uk or Professor Filippo Lorenzon, PGR Admissions Tutor, at F.Lorenzon@soton.ac.uk.


HEAL Seminar Series: 4-5pm Wednesday 9 December 2015, with Matteo Bonotti speaking on ‘Food Policy, Nutritionism and Public Justification’

In 2015, Meetings on November 30, 2015 at 9:13 am

On Wednesday 9 December 2015 we will host the fifth session in the 2015-16 HEAL seminar series, with Matteo Bonotti, a Lecturer in Political Theory at Cardiff University, speaking on ‘Food Policy, Nutritionism and Public Justification’. The seminar will run from 4-5pm in room 2007/4 (Law). All welcome.

In this paper I critically assess the nutritionist approach to food that underlies health-promoting food policies such as nudges, fat taxes and food bans. My central contention is that nutritionism is a controversial conception of the good which is not suitable for justifying health-promoting food policies in societies characterized by reasonable pluralism with regard to food and health. In the first part of the paper I illustrate the main features of nutritionism and critically assess its flaws in relation to the problem of public justification. In the second part of the paper I show how nudges, fat taxes and food bans are illegitimate since the rationale for them is ultimately grounded in nutritionism. I conclude by offering suggestions for alternative health-promoting food policies which can be publicly justified in view of the fact of reasonable pluralism.

HEAL Seminar Series: 4-5pm Wednesday 25 November 2015, with Jack Clayton Thompson speaking on ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want: A Gewirthian Model Of Rational Autonomy In Abortion’.

In 2015, Meetings on November 16, 2015 at 9:00 am

On Wednesday 25 November 2015 we have the fourth session in the 2015/16 HEAL seminar series, with Jack Clayton Thompson, a lecturer in Law at the University of Westminster, speaking on ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want: A Gewirthian Model Of Rational Autonomy In Abortion’. The seminar will run from 4-5pm in room 2007/4 (Law). All welcome.


The law regulating the availability of abortion is problematic both legally and morally. It is dogmatic in its requirements of women and doctors and ignorant of would-be fathers. Practically, its usage is liberal – with s1(1)(a) Abortion Act 1967 treated as a ‘catch all’ ground – it allows abortion on demand. Yet this is not reflected in the ‘law’. Against this outdated legislation I propose a model of autonomy which seeks to tether our moral concerns with a new legal approach to abortion. I do so by maintaining that a legal conception of autonomy is derivable from the categorical imperative resulting from Gewirth’s argument to the Principle of Generic Consistency: Act in accordance with the generic rights of your recipients as well as of yourself. This model of Gewirthian Rational Autonomy, I suggest, provides a guide for both public and private notions of autonomy and how our autonomous interests can be balanced across social structures in order to legitimately empower choice. I claim, ultimately, that relevant rights in the context of abortion are derivable from this model.

Global Health Law: Health, Governance, and Justice

In 2015, Gratuitous self-promotion, Publications on November 9, 2015 at 9:20 am

One of the core areas of research activity within HEAL, led by me and A.M. Viens, is Public Health Ethics and Law. As a field, this embraces a huge range of issues. Some of our work is driven by particular practical areas of focus, such as Adrian’s longstanding study of stewardship and antimicrobial resistance. Other aspects of our activity are driven by theoretical concerns, such as work I’ve done asking how the question “what makes health public?” might be answered in a transnational setting. In any instance, the bringing together of legal and philosophical analyses to big, health-related challenges is central to our activity.

I am very pleased, therefore, with the release of a special issue of Health Care Analysis that I have edited. The focal point for the issue is Lawrence O. Gostin’s highly important and influential book Global Health Law (Harvard University Press, 2014). Gostin’s work in this book sets one of the most important agendas in contemporary health, ethics, and law scholarship and practice. The journal issue advances the debate with contributions that bring perspectives from law, philosophy, and economics, with a fantastic line-up of world-leading contributors: Eric Friedman and Lawrence Gostin; Norman Daniels; Jennifer Prah Ruger; Shawn Harmon; Attiya Waris and Laila Abdul Latif; Heather Widdows; and A.M. Viens.

John Coggon

HEAL Seminar Series: 4-5pm Wednesday 11 November 2015, with Pamela Walsh speaking on ‘US Healthcare Reform: The Affordable Care Act and its Impact

In 2015, Meetings on November 6, 2015 at 8:00 am
On Wednesday 11 November 2015 we have the third in the 2015/16 HEAL seminar series, with Dr Pamela Walsh, Associate Professor at Eastern Michigan University speaking on  ‘US Healthcare Reform: The Affordable Care Act and its Impact’. The seminar will run from 4-5pm in room 4055 in building 4 (Law). All welcome.
This presentation will provide a brief overview of the United States’ Affordable Care Act that was enacted, March 2010.  This will include key components, such as the individual mandate, health insurance exchanges, employer plans, and funding. I will address political aspects, particularly the efforts by the US House of Representatives to overturn it and the rulings by the US Supreme to sustain it and the impact it has had to date.  

HEAL Seminar Series: today, Weds 21 October 2015, with Ben Saunders speaking on ‘Why Altruistic Donation May Be (Intrinsically) Bad’

In 2015, Meetings on October 21, 2015 at 9:16 am

Today, we have the second in the 2015/16 HEAL seminar series, with Ben Saunders, Associate Professor in Political Philosophy at Southampton, speaking on ‘Why Altruistic Donation May be (Intrinsically) Bad’, on Wednesday 21 October, 4-5pm, room 4055, building 4 (Law). All welcome.

Proposals to introduce incentives for donations, including market payments, for blood, tissues, or organs are often objected to on grounds that such donations should be altruistic.[i] If donors are primarily moved by their own benefit, rather than the recipient’s, motives are often regarded as suspect. Conversely, we usually accept altruistic (other-regarding) motives as morally innocent, even commendable.

These attitudes have recently come under attack. A number of authors have argued that donations need not be motivated by altruism in order to be morally permissible.[ii] In this paper, I question the complacent assumption that altruistic giving is always good. I argue that in some circumstances excessive altruism, or self-abnegation, may be intrinsically bad. If I am right, some altruistic acts of donation may be morally problematic.
I base my argument on Tom Hurka’s account of the relative value of self-interest and altruism.[iii] Hurka holds that, while altruism (love of others’ good) itself is always good, it may be part of a package of attitudes that is on the whole intrinsically bad, where the love of others’ good is disproportionate to the love of one’s own good. Though Hurka is concerned to show that self-abnegation is not always a vice, some cases are intrinsically bad. If this is so, then altruistic donors may be acting from intrinsically bad motives, since their disproportionate concern for the good of others may reflect a lack of concern for their own good, which is itself bad.

[i] Titmuss RM. The Gift Relationship: From Human Blood to Social Policy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1971),  Naqvi A and Rizvi A. Against paid organ donation. Transplantation Proceedings 2001;33:2628.
[ii] Saunders B. Altruism or solidarity? The motives for organ donation and two proposals. Bioethics 2012;26:376-81.
Moorlock G, Ives J, and Draper H. Altruism in organ donation: an unnecessary requirement? J Med Ethics 2014;40:134-8.
[iii] Hurka T. Self-interest, altruism, and virtue. Social Philosophy and Policy 1997;14:286-307.

HEAL seminar series, 30 Sept: Samantha Schnobel on ‘Tails wagging dogs and putting carts before horses: the importance of actionable damage in veterinary negligence’

In 2015, Meetings on September 28, 2015 at 2:36 pm

We are delighted to welcome Samantha Schnobel, a PhD candidate at Birmingham Law School, to lead the first HEAL seminar for 2015/16, on Wednesday 30 September, 1-2pm, room 4051, building 4 (Law). All welcome.

Samantha will be speaking on ‘Tails wagging dogs and putting carts before horses: the importance of actionable damage in veterinary negligence’.


Veterinary medicine is one of the oldest recognised professions in the United Kingdom. However, unlike their cousins in human medicine, veterinarians, on the whole, evaded the colossal shift toward external regulation and professional accountability. Due in large part to the status of animals being that of typically low-value or no-value property, veterinarians have enjoyed something of an immunity from external scrutiny, particularly in civil matters concerning allegations of professional negligence. It is submitted that a changing social climate and a profession which now, more than ever, deals with complex questions relating to medical treatment and ethics will challenge this immunity.

This, however, is perhaps putting the cart before the horse. Although I maintain that the veterinary profession will (and in many respects veterinarians already do) increasingly feel the pressure of heightened client expectations regarding the care of their animal, none of these issues will undergo legal and ethical scrutiny if claimants are unable to first evidence some form of actionable damage. The purpose of this paper, then, is to explore how the damage requirement could be modified to reflect harm suffered by a claimant-owner where the complaint involves negligence in the care and/or treatment of a companion animal. The current model adopted by the courts is to view the damage suffered as purely proprietary and damages are awarded in line with the animal’s market value. I argue this model is severely deficient. Utilising judicial and academic jurisprudence on wrongful conception claims and ownership interests in novel property scenarios, it is submitted that damage in the veterinary negligence context should be categorised as damage to sentient constitutive property. Under this model, the damage sustained by the owner-claimant corresponds to both a property element and, most importantly, an emotional harm element.

HEAL cited in NCOB Report on ‘Children and clinical research: ethical issues’

In 2015, Gratuitous self-promotion, public consultations, Research ethics on September 7, 2015 at 9:00 am

We’re delighted to say (somewhat belatedly) that HEAL was cited in the Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ Report on ‘Children and Clinical research: ethical issues’, published in May 2015. The Children and Clinical Research Working Party was set up in 2013 with the following terms of reference:

1. To consider whether the current systems for regulating clinical research strike the right balance with respect to: Promoting understanding of childhood conditions and the availability of evidence-based treatments for children The role children themselves should play in research decisions; and The proper protection of child participants

2. To consider, as may be necessary: how it may be ensured that appropriate priority is given to research that is most likely to benefit children how the ethical acceptability of research projects should be determined, and the role of the various parties involved, including parents, in protecting children’s welfare the relevance of a child’s ‘best interests’ or capacity to ‘benefit’ in the context of consent to research, as opposed to treatment the importance of the international context any other aspects of the direct or indirect regulation of clinical research in children that may be relevant.

3. To draft a report and make recommendations as appropriate.

In order to respond to the Consultation Paper (one of a number of evidence gathering activities), HEAL members met in October 2013 to discuss and draft a co-ordinated response (in a meeting colloquially referred to as ‘Experimenting on children?’). Our response can be read here: HEAL response to NCOB Children and Clinical Research ethical issues FINAL.

HEAL’s contributions were quoted at para 2.8 in a section on Research proposed in traumatic, highly emotional, or sensitive situations:  “… research into the use of drugs or sexual relationships, where involvement of the parents or other family members may be problematic” (fn 112); and cited at para 2.10, fn 118, with regard to: ‘The challenging question of parental involvement in decisions about young people’s participation in such research was highlighted by respondents to the Working Party’s consultation both in the UK and in Africa’.

It is clear that the NCOB has actively sought to ensure the voices of children are heard as part of the consultation and the findings, from the cover of the Report (link above) provided by drawings from children on their views and perspectives on research, to short films, and in the media coverage.  One of the summary findings – that ‘research should always be carried out with children, not on children’ – may seem obvious, yet it is vitally important for children to be involved in research as subjects rather than objects if we are to treat them with the dignity and respect that we, in turn, expect as adults.

Caroline Jones

Southampton event: “Taking Pregnancy Seriously in Metaphysics II: Identity and Persistence”, 18 Sept., 2015

In 2015, Meetings, Reproduction on August 31, 2015 at 9:17 am

“Taking Pregnancy Seriously in Metaphysics II: Identity and Persistence”, 18 September, University of Southampton, UK.

Steinvor Arnadottir (Stirling): ‘On the Metaphysical Implications of the Part-Whole View.
Lynne Baker (Amherst): ‘A Puzzle about Pregnancy: first there is one person, then there are two.’
Victoria Browne (Oxford Brookes): ‘Aristotelean Teleology and the Philosophy of Pregnancy Loss’
Elselijn Kingma
(Southampton): ‘Budding Humans? Pregnancy & Identity’

Although philosophers have explored metaphysical questions related to pregnancy – most obviously abortion and the metaphysical status of the fetus – little philosophical attention has been paid to pregnancy itself. That is a remarkable omission because pregnancy raises important philosophical problems in metaphysics, ethics and epistemology: should the foetus be regarded as part of or ‘merely surrounded by’ the mother? If persons can be parts of other persons, what does this imply for bodily ownership and personal and numerical identity? What special rights and duties does the unique status of pregnancy bestow? Does the radically transformative character of pregnancy mean that those who have never been pregnant are excluded from certain kinds of knowledge about pregnancy and its consequences? This workshop explores the implications of pregnancy for personal identity and personal ontology.

This workshop is one of a series of four in the project Taking Pregnancy Seriously in Metaphysics, Ethics & Epistemology, funded by the Southampton Ethics Centre and the University of Southampton ‘Adventures in Research’ Scheme, with added support from the British Society for Philosophy of Science and the Aristotelian Society. It was preceded by another workshop on Metaphysics, on ‘the foetus and the maternal organism’ on the 21st of July, and, prior to that, two workshops on Ethics and Epistemology on the 18th of June 2014 and the 13th of April 2015. 

Registration is free of charge, and will include tea/coffee/refreshments. Delegates must provide/ pay for their own meals; there is an option to sign up for a buffet lunch (cost: GBP 8.50) when registering via the online store:http://go.soton.ac.uk/6go
Please register by September 10th. If you would like to attend but childcare duties render your attendance difficult, please contact the organisers (as far in advance as possible).

For more information, program, accessibility information & registration, see this page.

Dr Elselijn Kingma and Dr Fiona Woollard
School of Humanities
University of Southampton