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As we rapidly approach the 30th anniversary of the landmark Australian medical law decision Rogers v Whitaker in 2022, medical litigation remains a vibrant and challenging field, given the rapid pace of scientific and social developments that generate new challenges for the law. Many are at the core of personal importance - birth, reproduction and personal autonomy. The legal issues are wide-ranging, covering the existence of duties, what should be considered negligent, the challenges of legal causation and appropriate compensation- all against a background of insurance affordability, medical treatment innovations and dispute resolution process changes.
This subject examines the framework of medical litigation, current challenges and issues on the horizon. The subject coordinator Bill Madden is a lawyer specialising in medical litigation, a co-author of two health law texts and a regular writer and presenter on medical law topics.
Principal topics include:
- History and incidence of medical litigation
- The impact of recent legal and court-based reforms
- Duty, breach of duty and statutory defences / protections
- Consent, informed consent and treatment errors
- Factual and normative causation and loss of chance
- The changing framework of expert evidence
- Privacy and confidentiality issues
- Mandatory reporting impacts
- Coroners’ investigations and hearings.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject should:
- Understand the substantive law and the procedures of litigation in relation to medical injuries in Australia
- Have examined the history and context of medical litigation and the alternatives to it for provision of compensation
- Have thought through the role of the regulatory framework, disciplinary proceedings and criminal actions against health practitioners, relevant to medical litigation
- Have analysed the role of coroners’ investigations and inquests
- Be aware of current and forthcoming legal issues in the medical litigation sphere.
Last updated: 5 May 2020