LW7144 - Clinical Negligence

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will develop a critical understanding of the law relating to clinical negligence in England and Wales as applied to doctors. The module will examine the substantive law applicable in this area and will focus on statute and common law.

This module covers the following topics:

Clinical Negligence - the substantive rules:

An overview of the clinical negligence claim.

Duty of care.

Breach of the duty of care / the standard of care.




Claims in contract.

Criminal law and gross negligence manslaughter.

The Role of the Coroner.

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, formative assessments) throughout the module.

Directed learning will centre on detailed learning materials which will be made available via Blackboard Ultra, 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. The learning materials will be used to introduce you to the major principles of each topic in addition to placing the principles in context in relevant factual scenarios. The self-evaluative tasks will be used to develop and test your knowledge, factual analysis and problem-solving skills.

Knowledge will be consolidated through a range of learning activities that will include extended reading, research and reflection. You will have a Study Day which will focus on clinical negligence law and aspects of criminal law. The study day will include lectures from tutors together with interactive workshop-based activities in which you will need to consider the law surrounding medical practice in a practical context. The workshops will utilise an experiential teaching and learning strategy through using practical scenarios to expand on the material covered in the online learning materials. Study Day content will also be made available as live, on-line sessions. The workshops will be interactive sessions

Independent learning will centre on you identifying further reading and research to provide deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of clinical negligence and will build on the areas covered in online materials and at the study day.

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 will support you in learning and research with an excellent library and teaching facilities, access to on-line databases and resources and appropriate software. See https://library.northumbria.ac.uk/info-student/distance; https://library.northumbria.ac.uk/develop-your-learning-skills.

This Module is designed by, and will be managed by, the Module Tutor who will be responsible for guiding you in your engagement and learning on the Module. Material will be provided to you through Blackboard Ultra. The Module has a dedicated Blackboard Ultra site which includes, a workbook, multiple choice questions, study day materials, recorded lectures powerpoint slides and links to resources, such as newly published articles. This is in addition to the electronic reading list. Extensive use is therefore made of Blackboard Ultra 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.

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 Academic Programme Support Teams are responsible for the non-academic administration of the Module, such as recording the marks from your assessment, maintaining student records and dealing with programme-specific student enquiries.

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?

At the end of the module you be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding:

Develop knowledge and understanding of clinical negligence law in England and Wales.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

Interpret and critically apply primary and secondary source materials to commonly encountered medical scenarios selecting, using and applying the relevant material to identify issues, construct rational arguments and present accurate legal information clearly, coherently and substantiated by authority.

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

Develop intellectual independence by being able to access and critically interpret relevant legal and ethical material.

Gain a critical awareness of the legal and ethical issues surrounding clinical negligence 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 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. (MLO 1 & 2)


Summative Assessment will be undertaken on an individual basis by way of assignment, which constitutes 100% of the marks for this module. The assignment will aim to encourage a deep and critical approach to learning, developing an ability to think widely about the issues relating to medical law presented within the module and to explore these in-line with directed and independent learning. (MLO 1, 2, 3, 4)

The module will be assessed by coursework with a maximum word limit of 3,000 words. The specific nature of the assignment may vary and may include essay and case studies designed to facilitate examination of iatrogenic harm.? 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. Submission is electronic via Turnitin.


You will be provided with appropriate electronic written feedback through Turnitin on your assessment in accordance with the Law School’s feedback policy. Such feedback can be utilised in the preparation of subsequent module assessments on the programme.





Module abstract

Clinical Negligence examines the law governing clinical negligence in England and Wales The module focuses on the substantive law to include common law and statute applicable to the clinical negligence claim and in what circumstances this may result in criminal liability. For doctors in an era of increasing demands placed upon the NHS and private sector there has never been a more important time to study this area of law. This module will give you a good grounding in the core principles of civil and criminal liability. By the end of this module, you will have a good understanding of the main legal issues facing as encountered in hospital medical practice. Exposure to realistic clinical scenarios and simulations will enhance your awareness, as well as your understanding of how a legal practitioner will view and interpret your practice. The module learning outcomes will be achieved through the use of a variety of learning technologies and simulated case studies to introduce you to the principles of clinical negligence.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Part-Time Distance Learning

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

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