chapter  5
14 Pages

LITIGATING BIOETHICS: THE ROLE OF AUTONOMY AND DIGNITY

BySteven Wheatley

The amount of impact the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) will have on the legal regulation of biomedicine is uncertain. The Act will, though, affect the language deployed in medical litigation. Moreover, it may have the important effect of orienting such litigation around what, at their core, are ethical arguments. This is not just because rights themselves are a matter of ethics, but also because the limits placed on rights under the Convention also involve ethical consideration-such as the the utilitarian question of ‘necessary in a democratic society’ (Arts 8(2) and 10(2)) and the deontological question of health and morals (Art 8(2)). Significantly, we might examine the extent to which a regime which seeks to accord (human) rights to individuals in healthcare will accord priority to individual autonomy.