LW7030 - Hospitals and Consent to Treatment

APPLY NOW Book an Open Day Add to My Courses Register your interest / Course PDF

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will develop a critical understanding of the laws relating to consent to mental health treatment in England. You will examine the importance of legal capacity/competency in consent law and its effect on the rights of adults and children to give or withhold consent. The module will take a critical look at the legal framework that governs mental health treatment administered under the Mental Health Act 1983, Mental Capacity Act 2005 and at common law and the impact that international human rights instruments have in this area of law.

This module covers the following topics:

• Treatment of capable adults at common law: introducing the doctrine of informed consent and the common laws of battery and negligence in relation to consent to treatment;
• Treatment of Incapable adults under the Mental Capacity Act 2005: examining how and when incapable adults can be treated for mental disorder without consent and how provision can be made for a future onset of incapacity through Advance Decisions and Lasting Powers of Attorney;
• Treatment of Children and Young Persons: exploring the legal framework governing the care and treatment of children and young people suffering from mental disorder and the solutions offered by common law and the primary statutes when legal and ethical issues arise about detention and treatment.
• Treatment of detained patients under the Mental Health Act 1983: Exploring the compulsory treatment provisions and safeguards of Part IV MHA and the treatment of community patients under Part 4A MHA 1983.

How will I learn on this module?

You will be supported by a teaching and learning plan (TLP) which outlines the activities (independent study/reading, self evaluative tasks, informal practice assessments) throughout the module.

Directed learning will centre on detailed learning materials which will be made available via the module dedicated e-Learning (elp) site and will include guided reading using electronic reading lists, self-evaluative tasks as well as opportunities to engage with your tutor and fellow students. Knowledge will be consolidated through a range of learning activities that will include extended reading, research and reflection. You will have an optional Study Day at the University, which will focus on consent to treatment law and may include interactive workshop-based activities and lectures from tutors and the opportunity for guest practitioner expert input which will enhance academic content and delivery. Study Day content will also be made available as a recorded on-line session.

Independent learning will centre on you identifying further reading and research to provide deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of consent to treatment law and practice.

You will be provided with detailed feedback on your formative and summative assignment for this module and, as part of your reflective development, such feedback can be utilised in the preparation of subsequent module assessments on the programme. You are therefore able to demonstrate self-reflection and reflective practice within the module and on the programme as a whole, with feedback of appropriate quality and the positive application of formative feedback on learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The University is well-placed to support you in learning and research with an excellent library and teaching facilities, access to on-line legal databases and resources and appropriate software.

This module is designed and will be managed by your designated Module Tutor who will be responsible for guiding you in your engagement and learning on the module. All relevant materials and instructions will be accessible on-line through the module elp site, maintained by your Module Tutor, who will also provide updates on issues of current legal significance. Extensive use is therefore made of the elp at module level to facilitate discussions between you and your Module Tutor, to provide materials, make announcements and to highlight recent developments in the law. You may communicate with your Module Tutor by e-mail or telephone and are encouraged to make contact if you encounter any difficulties relating to any aspect of the module. During the module, several “surgery” sessions, via distance means such as Blackboard collaborate, give the Module Tutor and students the opportunity to discuss content and expectations around learning and assessment.

Academic support is also available through summative and formative feedback on assignments and a module teaching and learning plan (TLP) detailing delivery structure and any University requirements. At programme level you will be supported by the Programme Leader who will provide pastoral support throughout the module and the programme as a whole.

The Programme Administration and Student Liaison teams are responsible for the non-academic administration of the module, such as receiving your completed assignment, returning your marked assignment and recording your marks. They will contact you throughout the duration of your module with details about the study day, assignment hand-in dates and other issues.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
At the end of the module you will have:

• Developed knowledge and a critical understanding of the laws and professional guidance that govern the mental health treatment of patients (adults and children) in hospitals and community settings in England, including an appreciation of how international human rights instruments have impacted upon this area.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

• Developed an ability to conduct rigorous and independent legal research in the area of consent to treatment law, selecting, using and applying the relevant material to identify issues, construct rational arguments and present accurate legal information clearly, coherently and substantiated by authority.

• Developed an ability to reflect on and critically evaluate the operation of consent law in a mental health context and identified solutions to a range of legal, practical and ethical problems associated with mental health treatment decision-making.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• Gained a critical awareness of the legal and ethical issues surrounding consent to mental health treatment in English law and reflected on how those legal and ethical values align with your own personal and professional values.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will be achieved by self-test questions in module materials, group discussion, informal peer assessment and assessed and non-assessed exercises. Answers to self-test questions will be provided on the module elp and your tutor will give oral and written feedback to you as required.


Summative Assessment will be undertaken on an individual basis by way of assignment which constitutes 100% of the marks for this module. This assignment aims to encourage a deep and critical approach to learning, developing an ability to think widely about the issues presented within the module and to explore these in-line with directed and independent learning.

The module is assessed by coursework with a maximum word limit of 3,000 words. The assessment will take the form of a discursive essay question which will be designed to facilitate examination of specific aspects of relevant law and related legal research and may include discussion of recent developments, where appropriate. Assessment criteria will be provided to enable you to understand what is expected of you and how you will be judged on your performance.

You will be provided with appropriate written or oral feedback (as appropriate), and, as part of your reflective development, such feedback can be utilised in the preparation of subsequent module assessments on the programme.

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

Hospitals and Consent to Treatment examines the laws governing consent to mental health treatment in England. The module focuses on legal and ethical issues surrounding the treatment of competent and incompetent adults and children at common law, under the Mental Health Act 1983 and under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Internationally, the European Convention on Human Rights and increasingly the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities continue to shape domestic mental health and capacity law, creating new challenges for mental health professionals. Consequently, there has never been a more important time to study this controversial and ethically challenging area of law. You will critically engage with research outputs as part of your research-rich learning, drawing from Northumbria’s extensive on-line databases and library facilities. You will be assessed by researched assignment (100%) which will consolidate your understanding of consent law and develop your skills of critical analysis.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study PG Certificate 9 months, PG Diploma 9 months, LLM 9 months all by distance learning

Department Northumbria Law School

Location Law and NBS Building, City Campus East

City Newcastle

Start September 2019

Current, Relevant and Inspiring

We continuously review and improve course content in consultation with our students and employers. To make sure we can inform you of any changes to your course register for updates on the course page.

Your Learning Experience find out about our distinctive approach at 
www.northumbria.ac.uk/exp

Admissions Terms and Conditions - northumbria.ac.uk/terms
Fees and Funding - northumbria.ac.uk/fees
Admissions Policy - northumbria.ac.uk/adpolicy
Admissions Complaints Policy - northumbria.ac.uk/complaints