Issues Relating to the Termination of Life

Module code: LLMP 5282

Module description

This module centres attention around legal and ethical issues relating to termination (i.e. euthanasia, assisted suicide and abortion), prolonging and shortening of life in the context of medical treatment in clinical environments. Crucial concepts such as the meanings of life and death, personhood, autonomy and intention (including the doctrine of double effect), and the distinction between acts and omissions, will be examined and evaluated. Human rights dimensions will be pervasive throughout the module.


  • Meanings of Live Birth and Death
  • Status of the Embryo/Foetus
  • Legality of different forms of Contraception
  • Law relating to Abortion
  • Maternal/Foetal Conflicts
  • Liability for Pre-natally inflicted injuries
  • Euthanasia
  • Physician-assisted Suicide
  • Palliative care and the Doctrine of Double Effect
  • Separation of Conjoined Twins
  • Withholding/Withdrawing Life-Prolonging Care and Treatment, including Advance care planning

A variety of self-assessment questions are built into the module.

Contact hours per student per year

  • Tutorial: 3 hours (optional)


  • Essay: 40%
  • Essay 2: 60%

Additional costs: Students may choose to purchase one or more textbooks relevant to this module. Students may choose to attend the optional Study days which will incur travel /accommodation costs.

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