Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law

“as an authoritative guide to how the law works, and how to navigate the law in medical treatment decision-making, the guide is unrivalled.”

Alex Ruck-Keene QC (Hon), Court of Protection barrister

Fourth edition, edited by Christopher Johnston QC and Sophia Roper QC, with chapters authored by a team of 27 barristers at Serjeants’ Inn Chambers and published by Bloomsbury Professional in 2022.

This leading textbook places medical decision-making in its legal context and provides practical guidance on the most ethically challenging cases that face the courts. It explains how the Mental Capacity Act works in practice and how the courts and lawyers wrestle with and resolve problems relating to the very essence of life: what is life? what is an acceptable quality of life? what treatment is so burdensome that it should not be attempted? These questions are posed, not in the abstract but, in real – often desperate, often urgent – situations.

This is the essential guide for solicitors, barristers and judges specialising in Court of Protection work, clinical negligence, personal injury and human rights. Postgraduate medical ethics students and academics, NHS bodies and local authority professionals, health professionals and administrators in the NHS and private practice and those in Commonwealth countries with an interest in these topics will also find this book an invaluable resource.

Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law offers a readily accessible text for those dealing with the provision of medical treatment to those without capacity and related areas, providing a clear description of procedure as well as practical application of the law.

Key developments for the Fourth Edition include:

  • The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on decision making in the Court of Protection, particularly in relation to end of life decisions and vaccination
  • New chapters on two controversial issues: “the Right to Die?” and “Access to Healthcare: Choice”
  • Expanded chapter on Decisions for Children, covering recent high-profile cases such as Re Gard where continued provision of life sustaining treatment for babies or very young infants was at issue, and addressing the difficult issues around decision making by 16 to 17 year olds
  • Substantially updated chapter on Going to Court, covering how the incapacitous patient can be supported to participate in decisions about their treatment
  • Discussion of “Escalation of Care” covering matters including NICE guidelines and care pathways and expanded coverage of issues concerning the funding of treatment.

To purchase the book, please see here.

Listen to the accompanying podcast here.
Read more about our Court of Protection work and our team here.
For updates about the book please see our UK Medical Decision Law blog here.
For a review of the book, please see here.

Chapter extracts and updates