Euthanasia: should it be legalised in the UK?

This is a Law Subject Spotlight with Dr Kieran Doran from University of Sunderland. An interactive, cinematic course taster experience to allow students to gain insights into what it's like to study Law.

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This Subject Spotlight contains topics of a sensitive nature. In this captivating Subject Spotlight, Dr Kieran Doran introduces the very topical but controversial debate surrounding euthanasia, whilst interweaving the legal and moral implications in. The title is: Euthanasia: should it be legalised in the UK? - a thought provoking and critical topic of discussion in the modern age. Dr Kieran Doran begins by giving an overview of what euthanasia is, the moral difficulties, and where it is currently legal. He also thinks about consent, and how the approach to euthanasia has changed from a healthcare professional approach to a more patient centric approach. He concludes by explaining what the law on euthanasia is today in the UK. He goes on to investigate the Mental Capacity act 2005, and how that has impacted legislation for doctors, as well as document undue influence and the factors that are key to this theory, before explaining informed consent and how it relates to professionalism. In episode 3, Kieran introduces two very important case studies in reference to euthanasia. One case study focuses on the act of euthanasia abroad, and how laws are different in two jurisdictions. Dr Kieran also discusses a second case study which occurred  in the UK. Finally, Kieran presents a well-known legal case surrounding euthanasia and sets you a research activity which encourages you to consider the many elements involving a delicate scenario like this.

About University of Sunderland

The University of Sunderland is a top 50 UK university (Guardian University Guide 2024) and a global institution which offers life-changing opportunities for over 20,000 students across its four campuses in Sunderland, London and Hong Kong. With over 300 undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, placement opportunities and the option to study full or part-time, there’s something for everyone at Sunderland. The University of Sunderland has also received five stars for teaching, inclusiveness, employability and facilities in the QS World University Rankings 2023 and is in the top 10 UK universities for social inclusion (The Times Good University Guide 2024).

Meet the academics

Dr Kieran Doran

Dr Kieran Doran is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Sunderland. Kieran has been particularly active in legal research in the area of healthcare law, including the legal confidentiality of clinical records, informed consent and advanced healthcare planning, and recent developments in the law of termination of pregnancy in Ireland. He has also undertaken legal research on topics such as a clinician’s understanding of the appropriate application of "do not apply cardio-pulmonary resuscitation" orders, the legal position governing the prescribing of contraceptives to minor patients, and alternative dispute resolution in clinical negligence litigation. In addition, Kieran has published academic articles on issues such as the legibility of clinical records in clinical practice, as well as topics relating to his own work with medical students in student welfare & pastoral care, and undergraduate medical research (e.g. the teaching of Clinical Research Ethics). Kieran is currently the module coordinator for the online LLM module, Employment Law, and is extensively involved as an LLM dissertation supervisor. Some of the areas of law he is supervising include data protection and e-commerce, alternative dispute resolution in international trade, and the use of artificial intelligence in international trade. He also delivers lectures on the second year LLB modules on dispute resolution and the law of evidence, as well as the third year module, Medical Law. Kieran is heavily involved in the training of trainee solicitors through the legal practice course, teaching on the modules of Advanced Litigation and Employment Law and Practice. Kieran also works with undergraduate and postgraduate students in the LPC office training in the law clinic. Kieran has a wide range of interests in legal research and his background is primarily in legal research within healthcare law, and he has written on a variety of topics including clinical negligence, informed consent, clinical confidentiality, clinical research ethics, plus ethical and legal issues at the beginning and end of Life. Kieran also has extensive experience and knowledge in alternative dispute resolution law, criminal law, data protection law, employment law, EU law, health & safety Law, and the legal system, which includes civil litigation and the coroners' court.

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