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Research participants and the right to be informed.

Beyleveld, Deryck and Brownsword, Roger (2015) 'Research participants and the right to be informed.', in Inspiring a medico-legal revolution : essays in honour of Sheila McLean. London: Routledge, pp. 173-188.


Introducing Autonomy, Consent and the Law,1 Sheila McLean remarks that if the law is ‘to facilitate or protect the capacity of an autonomous person to make an autonomous choice – one that reflects his or her own values – it is necessary to develop standards that can ensure meaningful patient participation in healthcare decisions’.2 And, the development of such standards, McLean suggests, ‘is generally said to be the function of the legal doctrine of consent’.3 However, having analysed a sweep of English medical law (focusing on end-of-life questions, pregnancy, genetics and organ transplantation), McLean claims that the jurisprudence of (informed) consent is less than fully congruent with the idea that the autonomy of the patient is focal. Indeed, McLean concludes: ‘In building the rules around consent to treatment, courts have stopped short of ensuring that people are fully informed and therefore truly able to weigh their decisions and act in a self-determining manner’.

Item Type:Book chapter
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Inspiring a medico-legal revolution : essays in honour of Sheila McLean on 28 May 2015 available online:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:11 February 2020
Date of first online publication:28 May 2015
Date first made open access:11 February 2020

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