Health Law and Ethics

Student reading book in library
  • Level(s) of study: Postgraduate taught
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time (day)
  • Location: City site
  • Starting: September 2016
  • Course duration: 1 / 2 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

This course addresses the growing interest in the interface of medicine, law and ethics.  With the increasing pressure on resource allocation within the National Health Service and current debates on an individual’s capacity to consent or refuse medical treatment, there is growing need for qualified legal professionals with an understanding of health law.

About the LLM Health Law and Ethics

This course examines general principles such as consent to treatment and medical ethics, together with more specialist areas of Health Law including the law relating to:

  • organ transplants
  • reproduction and the law
  • mental health law
  • medicines and pharmacy law
  • employment and health.

You will gain an insight into the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 on healthcare and the law, as well as exploring the link between ill health and poverty and the implications of this.

Why choose LLM Health Law and Ethics?

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of Health Law and Ethics in a European context.
  • Learn from expert teaching staff including Dr Austen Garwood-Gowers, the author of leading works in organ transplantation and medical use of the human body more generally.
  • Option to complement your study of Health Law and Ethics with up two modules from other LLM subject areas.
  • Full-time and part-time study routes.
  • Attend an International Summer School and explore Law in a European context.
  • Scholarships available.
  • Individual modules can be studied for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) awards. Email us for details.
  • 100% of  postgraduate leavers of this course are employed or engaged in further study six months after leaving (DLHE survey, postgraduate leavers 2014-15).

LLM Health Law and Ethics Video

Austen Garwood-Gowers, Reader in Law provides an overview of the LLM Health Law and Ethics, including the teaching approach, what he enjoys most about the course, the experience and research of the academic team and more!

Open events

Please visit the events page for details of upcoming LLM open events.

Contact us for further information

If you would like to speak with a member of the team, you can contact us using the details below.

Email us
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4460
Nottingham Law School website

What you'll study

LLM Health Law and Ethics will involve you in the study of key issues relating to legal principles applied in the context of health and medicine. You will be supported in gaining high-level understanding of the organisational, regulatory and legal structures underpinning medical and health practice. Based on these fundamentals you will have the opportunity todevelop critical insights into a range of specialist areas in the field. In particular as the law relates to medical innovation, consent, mental health, beginning and ending of life issues and the use of human tissue.

The course incorporates a strong emphasis on ethics based critiques of legal approaches to health and medicine. Similarly you will be supported in developing a sophisticated international perspective on the issues in particular through the lens of human
rights approaches.

  • Course modules

    You will study six taught modules followed by a dissertation.

    Choose from:

    • The Legal Structure of Health Law: Judicial Review, Confidentiality and Malpractice

    Examine the key areas of law relating to the practice of medicine and other health care specialisms in the UK, taking into account EU legislation. You will focus on the law relating to medical malpractice, law and regulation by professional bodies, and the tort of negligence and its application to clinical practice.

    • Intellectual Property, Public Health and Medical Innovation

    An introduction to patent law and the importance and effectiveness of intellectual property regimes,

    both nationally and internationally, to stimulate research and the creation of new medicines and medical innovations and to facilitate access to them in a public health context.

    • Consent, Capacity and Mental Health

    Critically analyse the law relating to consent to medical treatment in the UK and the civil law provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983.

    • Mental Capacity and Mental Health Law

    Explore the key features of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, such as the test for assessing capacity and the concept of acting in the best interests of those who lack capacity. You will also look at the provisions of civil detention under the Mental Health Act 1983.

    • The Employer and Health Law

    Understand the obligation of employers to care for the health of their employees, particularly in the context of employees in a health care setting. You will assess the effectiveness of the English common law, UK legislation and European Union provisions governing health and safety in the workplace.

    • Law and the Beginning and Ending of Life

    Critically appreciate the ethical and legal issues at the beginning and ending of life as they arise in the medical context. You will explore assisted reproduction and related technologies and issues related to abortion and the broader control of pregnancy. In terms of ending of life the focus is principally on contexts in which life has been purposefully foreshortened and those in which life maintaining medical intervention has been withdrawn or withheld.

    • Medical Use of the Human Body

    Critically examine the phenomenon of medical use of the human body and the key ethical and legal issues raised by it. You will explore the implications of philosophical theories, ethical principles and legal norms in areas such as transplantation, medical research and bio-banking.

    • Or select up to two modules from another subject area, excluding Oil, Gas and Mining Law.

    You will start your dissertation after completing these modules.

    The dissertation is an extended piece of academic work, independently researched and written. You will be supported in your work by one-to-one supervision from a tutor expert in the chosen field. Subject to academic suitability and the availability of an appropriately expert tutor, you may select your own area of study for the dissertation phase of the course.

    Please note modules run subject to sufficient student numbers.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

How you’re taught

The academic year for the LLM courses is split into three parts: two ten-week terms (Term One runs from the beginning of the academic year until the Christmas vacation, Term Two between Christmas and Easter) and the summer period.

Full-time students – who complete the course over one academic year – study three modules in each term and complete the dissertation over the summer.

Part-time students – who complete the course over two academic years – study three modules across Terms One and Two in each year (six in total), beginning work on researching their dissertation during the first summer period and completing it during the second.

On the full-time and part-time modes modules are taught throughout the week. Depending on your timetable you may be expected to attend on more than one day. Modules may exceptionally be rescheduled due to course needs.

Seminars are led by academics but will usually require you to carry out extensive guided preparatory work and will often involve short presentations or other contributions.


In each case modules are assessed through one piece of course work. This usually takes the form of a problem- or essay-style question, but will vary by module. You can submit and receive feedback on assessments over the course of each module.

The dissertation is 18,000 to 20,000 words and is researched and written independently under the guidance of an expert academic.

Expert Teaching Staff

Our reputation for world-class education and scholarly research is a reflection of our high-quality committed teaching staff. The staff that teach on the LLM Health Law and Ethics are listed below.

Research Expertise

We have a number of internationally recognised experts in a wide range of legal areas. We also have a Health Law and Ethics Research Group. To find out more visit our research page.

Careers and employability

Your future career
Career development is an integral part of the programme and our careers team run a series of workshops where you can identify methods and strategies to enable you to pursue your career goals.

Due to the School's excellent reputation within the legal profession, our graduates are highly sought-after and recognised for the depth and relevance of their knowledge. 100% of  postgraduate leavers of this course are employed or engaged in further study six months after leaving (DLHE survey, postgraduate leavers 2014-15).

Continuing professional development (CPD)
Practitioners can study individual modules from the LLM programme for CPD awards.

Nottingham Law School offers a suite of practice-based practitioner programmes specifically designed to meet the personal development needs of legal practitioners. We offer courses that qualify for CPD with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, in-house training and bespoke programmes. These courses are highly flexible and can be delivered throughout the year both nationally and internationally.

While this course does not currently offer placements we do encourage our students to pursue placement opportunities.

Find out about the opportunities available through our pro bono and University volunteering schemes.

Learn a new language

Alongside your study you also have the opportunity to learn a new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have.

Learning a new language can:

  • enhance your communication skills
  • enrich your experience when travelling abroad
  • boost your career prospects.

Find out more about the University Language Programme.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A good law degree, 2.2 or above.
  • Applicants whose first degree is not Law will be required to provide evidence of commitment to the LLM subject that they wish to study.
  • Applicants from other disciplines will be welcomed in appropriate circumstances, particularly if they have experience in the area, even if not as lawyers.

We specify these minimum entry requirements, but we will assess you individually on your ability to benefit from the course. We sometimes offer places on the basis of non-standard entry qualifications, and industrial or professional experience.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our UG and PG degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

Foundation courses

If you need to do a foundation course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our foundation courses page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. For this course, we usually require one of the following:

  • IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each skill.
  • An equivalent English language qualification.

For a list of our language requirements please visit our English language page.

If you need to do a pre-sessional English language course to meet the English requirements please visit our pre-sessional English course page.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our international team for advice.

How to apply

Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieved, as well as a personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU in our postgraduates’ guide. Here you’ll find advice about how to write a good personal statement and much more.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or support, you can call our Admissions Team on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Apply directly to the University online using the NTU online application portal.

Apply for your course as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.

For a step by step guide on making an application to the University please visit our how to apply page.

For advice on applying for a visa please visit our visa information page.

For advice on how to write a good personal statement please visit our personal statement page.

Postgraduate research

If you’re applying for postgraduate research please visit our Research pages for information about our research areas and how to make your application.

Apply now (portal)

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies. We award scholarships to those students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our postgraduates’ guide funding page for information about sourcing grants, bursaries and scholarships, and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

For more information on these and other opportunities for funding please visit our international scholarships page.

For information on how to pay your fees to the University please visit our international fee payment page.

Nottingham is ranked third most cost-effective city in which to study in the UK (Natwest Student Living Index 2015).

Still need help?

NLS Enquiries
+44 (0)115 848 4460