Ethics, the Law and Decision-Making HEA4195


Please note this module is on hold for new applications for the 21/22 academic year.

Decision-making is a complex ethical and legal process, influenced by autonomous choice and professional standards. The module allows health and social care practitioners to explore the ethical and legal issues that arise in decision-making for patients/service users. Practitioners are often involved in supporting the decision-making process or making decisions that affect those who they care for and support. Using a critical and analytical approach, the module will allow students to examine decision-making and apply ethical theory, the law and professional values to develop reasoned argument and form conclusions. There is a broad approach taken to cover decision-making issues within professional practice, allowing students to examine issues that are faced by other practitioners, with an assessment strategy that supports this. At the core of the module design, is the ability for practitioners to analyse decision-making in order to develop their professional role.

Module Code: HEA4195
Level: 7
Credits: 20
Cost: £700 for Sept 2021 to July 2022

Who is this module for?

  • The module is compulsory for students on the PG Cert in Mental Health Law programme.
  • The module is available as a standalone level 7 module.
  • The module is available as an optional module on suitable MSc pathways.

What are the key aims of the programme?

  • To allow practitioners to critically analyse decision-making in clinical practice.
  • To explore the application of bioethics and law in decision-making.
  • Through developing an understanding of both the law and bioethical theory, construct reasoned arguments and conclusions based on decision-making.

How Will I Study?

This module is normally studied over 11 sessions. The module overall takes 12 weeks.

What will I study?

  • Introduction to Bioethics.
  • Relationship Between Law and Ethics in Decision-Making.
  • Decision-Making and Autonomy.
  • Consent and Being Informed.
  • Children and Decision-Making.
  • Maternal Rights in Decision-Making.
  • End of Life Decisions.
  • Conscientious Objection.
  • Resource Allocation.
  • Research Ethics and Decision-Making.

How will I be assessed?

Essay critically analysing an aspect of decision-making within professional practice, in relation to the legal and ethical issues raised.

On successful completion you will:

  • Critically analyse the bioethical theory, relevant literature and law in relation to decision-making within professional practice.
  • Challenge and deconstruct professional, societal and personal belief systems through critical analysis to formulate conclusions.
  • Critically evaluate decision-making in the context of professional practice.

Study Dates and Venues

Further Information

Module availability varies from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Due to the popularity of some modules it may be that the module is fully booked when your application is received. We will include your details on a waiting list and allocate you a place on the next available intake.

For details of how to apply, please visit the apply page.

If you have any other queries about studying with us, please see the FAQs.

For further information regarding module content, please contact the Module Coordinator June Jones on email: [email protected] or by phone: 01695 654312.

For any other queries, you can contact the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health on [email protected]


This module can be studied on a standalone basis and is a core module on the PG Cert Mental Health Law and Ethics programme. It is also an optional module on the following programmes: