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Using a moot to develop students’ understanding of human cloning and statutory interpretation.

Pattinson, Shaun D. and Kind, Vanessa (2017) 'Using a moot to develop students’ understanding of human cloning and statutory interpretation.', Medical law international., 17 (3). pp. 111-133.


This article reports and analyses the method and findings from a 3-year interdisciplinary project investigating how the medium of law can support understanding of socio-scientific issues. Law represents one of the most important means by which society decides and communicates its values. Activities mirroring legal processes therefore have significant potential to inform, inspire and involve school students in exploring the conceptual, social and ethical issues relating to developments in biomedical science. This article focusses on an intervention-style study in which UK-based 16- to 17-year-old students role played a Supreme Court moot, developed by modifying a domestic appeal case concerned with whether the contemporary legislation covered the creation of cloned human embryos. We draw attention to how the science of cloning has been slightly misunderstood by the courts and in science materials provided to UK school students. We argue that moot-centred engagement activities offer great potential for science communication among post-16 students and, despite the limitations of the judicial process for addressing complex socio-scientific issues, such role plays aid development of scientific and sociolegal understanding, as well as enhancing students’ self-confidence and argumentation skills.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Date accepted:25 July 2017
Date deposited:22 August 2017
Date of first online publication:12 September 2017
Date first made open access:No date available

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