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LLM (Master of Laws) in Health Care Law

Health care and medicine is a rapidly advancing area, so its legalities and ethics are in a state of constant debate and review. Studying an LLM in Health Care Law, much like an LLM in Medical Law, will equip you with the academic theories, legal knowledge and real-world skills to navigate the litigious minefield of health care. This postgraduate specialism is guaranteed to fascinate any enthusiastic lawyer or health care practitioner, because almost nothing is clear-cut. Logistically challenging, ethically controversial, and professionally confusing issues will be explored, including: organ transplants; the issues of treating children and incompetent adults; patient confidentiality; practitioner and patient relationships of trust and power; mental health policy; public health, legal and ethical challenges at the end of life, and euthanasia; refusal of treatment; clinical negligence; fertility treatment; abortion ethics; and genetic testing.

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Number crunching the LLM in Health Care Law

Healthcare Law12 months: shortest available course (full-time)

36 months: longest available course (part-time)

15,000 words: typical dissertation length

LLM in Health Care Law – who's it for?

The LLM in Health Care Law sits on the intersection between legal professionals and healthcare professionals, so both groups are likely to have an interest in the course.

Lawyers who wish to specialise in an engaging field of expertise will have noticed regular news stories including medical negligence, euthanasia battles, and controversy over stem cell research. It would make an excellent topic to study for any legal worker with an interest in ethics, human rights, medical advancements or philosophy.

Many LLMs are aimed at law graduates, and while these may come from the majority of providers, Dundee University’s Health care Law and Ethics LLM is only available for health care professionals; they do not accept legal graduates on the course. It is offered as a part-time, distance learning qualification, so that you can study alongside work. There is a minimum requirement of post-qualifying experience (2 years) or time spent in a health care profession (5 years). This would be an ideal route for nurses, dentists, physiotherapists, doctors and pharmacists who wish to advance their careers, or to simply be reassured that they understand the precise rules governing their profession.

Where can you study an LLM in Health Care Law?

Lots of UK universities offer the ‘sister course’, LLM in Medical Law, e.g. Queen Mary University of London, Teesside University and De Montfort University. To study an LLM in Health care Law in the UK, you can choose from the following five institutions, each offering a slight variation on the subject:

University of Manchester: Health Care Ethics and Law

University of Liverpool: Law, Medicine and Health Care 

Nottingham Trent University: Health Law and Ethics

University of Birmingham: Health, Bioethics and Law

Dundee University: Health Care Law and Ethics 

What qualifications do you need to study an LLM In Heath Care Law?

The entry requirements vary with each university, so it’s important to see exactly what your chosen institution is asking for. As a general rule, they are looking for a “good” honours degree in a “relevant subject”. For the University of Liverpool, this means a 2:1 in Law; for Manchester, it is a 2:1 in a relevant subject (so a medical qualification might be suitable); while for Dundee, only health care professionals need apply.

What all institutions have in common is a minimum proficiency in the English language, in order to study at masters level. This is likely to be around IELTS 7.0 for most courses.

An LLM in Health Care Law advances careers in...

General Practice management

Postgraduate research

Medico-legal barrister

Ward matron

5 fascinating facts about Health Care Law

1. Since 1990, human life expectancy has gone up by 6 years!

2. Worldwide, nearly 1 in 10 of all adults have diabetes

3. Suicide was illegal in the UK until 1961

4. Almost 6 million people die per year, thanks to tobacco. 10% of those deaths are just from second-hand smoke.

5. One organ donor can save the life of eight people and improve quality of life for over 50 people!

Recommended reading

Health Care Ethics and the Law by Donna Hammaker

Health Care Law by Jean McHale, Marie Fox, Michael Gunn, Stephen Wilkinson

Health Care Law by Jonathan Montgomery

Healthcare Law: Impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 by Austen Garwood-Gowers

Parental Responsibility, Young Children and Healthcare Law by Jo Bridgeman

Law and Ethics in Nursing and Healthcare: An Introduction by Graham Avery

European Union Health Law: Themes and Implications by Tamara K Hervey & Jean V McHale

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