Posts Tagged ‘Criminalizing Contagion’

Final Summary Report for ESRC series on ‘Criminalizing of Disease Transmission’

In Conferences, funded research, Gratuitous self-promotion, Meetings on January 19, 2015 at 8:30 am

David Gurnham (HEAL and ICJR, University of Southampton) has recently completed an ESRC-funded series of seminars in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Manchester (Catherine Stanton and Hannah Quirk) focusing on the criminalization of disease transmission. Their final summary report is now completed and will be available via the HEAL and ICJR websites, and direct from this link: Criminalizing Contagion_summary_report_Nov_2014. The seminars, which took place at the Universities of Southampton and Manchester from January 2012 until September 2014 addressed a series of questions: how should the law treat a person who transmits a serious infection such as HIV, or exposes others to the risk of infection? For example, should such a person be treated as a criminal, in the same way as someone who injures another?

In this seminar series, we have tried to highlight and explore some of the most pressing implications that the deprivation of a person’s liberty in response to infectious disease transmission has for a number of professional and public organisations. While we did not identify any one view on criminalization, we heard and read strong criticism of the use of criminal sanctions in this context, as well as defences of criminal sanctions in some circumstances.

As well as academic scholars approaching the subject from criminal law and criminal justice, healthcare and ethics perspectives, the seminars establish a link with four key organizations, all of which are involved in one or more of relevant policy engagement, legal reform and clinical practice. These are Amnesty International, the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH – an organization made up of professionals working in sexual health), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Law Commission. With the exception of Amnesty, we have had representations from each of them, alongside participants across a range of other relevant organizations and institutions at the seminars.

A number of different sorts of publications have arisen from the seminars: academic papers presented at the seminar have been or will soon be published across a number of formats (special journal issues, a book of collected essays); article contributions by practicing medical and healthcare experts have been published in response to a call for papers in three British Medical Journal Group journals; papers have been published by David Gurnham and Catherine Stanton in response to the themes explored in the seminars. For full details of publications and paper presentations, see the Criminalizing Contagion_summary_report_Nov_2014.

ESRC Sponsored seminar: Criminalizing Contagion – legal and ethical challenges of disease, transmission and the criminal law

In 2013, Meetings on September 10, 2013 at 7:00 am

Today we are exploring ideas around the legal and ethical challenges of disease, transmission and the criminal law, during the second in a four part series of seminars funded by the ESRC on Criminalizing Contagion, a joint project between Southampton Law School and Manchester Law School, led by David Gurnham, Catherine Stanton and Hannah Quirk.

In the morning session, Dr John Coggon spoke on ‘Epistemic and communicative duties in public health ethics’, followed by Prof Maggie O’Neill of Durham Uni speaking on ‘Transgressive imaginations: sex work, abjection and contagion.’ The final part of the opening session was a paper by the BBC South Health Correspondent David Fenton, who gave us an insider’s take on the media & reporting in his paper on ‘Reporting pandemics – a perspective from inside the Newsroom.’ All papers gave rise to an engaging, interesting and lovely round of questions and discussion, which continued over lunch.

This afternoon’s session on ‘Evaluating Law’s Responses’ will begin with
Dr Lucy Stackpool-Moore, SOAS, on ”The intention may not be cruel … But the impact may be’: understanding the legislators’ motives and wider public attitudes to a draft HIV Bill in Malawi’, followed by Mr Peter Greenhouse, Consultant in Sexual Health and BSHH, Media Committee Chairman, speaking on ‘Herpes and the Law: a misuse of process?’.

It has been a fascinating day, and it will be very interesting to see how the project unfolds in the final two seminars in the series. More news on that here in the future!