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Assignment Briefs 02-01-2024

Critically evaluate how the Supreme Court arrived at its decision in this case.

Summative Coursework 1

LAWW1004 & LAWW1005

Jan 2023-24

Introduction to Law & Legal Theory Case Analysis

(This assessment is worth 40% of the overall mark)

Page limit: 4 pages, including footnotes but excluding bibliography.

The rules contained in the 23-24 Undergraduate Student Handbook relating to the formatting of your coursework (at pages 35-39) apply to this coursework. Please see the ILLT Moodle to access the handbook. Further, your attention in this, as in all other coursework modules, is drawn to the School of Law statement on plagiarism and academic integrity.

Completed essays should be submitted online via Turnitin by 3.00 pm on January 11th 2024.

Assessment Task

Read the case below and answer the following questions.

Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Respondent) v James (Appellant) [2013] UKSC 67

1. Critically evaluate how the Supreme Court arrived at its decision in this case.

Support your discussion with evidence from the case including the interpretation of statute, the use of precedent, and the approach to judicial reasoning. (50%)

2. To what extent do you find the court’s decision to be convincing?

Give reasons for your answer and support with evidence from the sources discussed in Seminars One, Two, and Three. (50%)

Assessment Notes

  1. You are reminded that this is an assessment of Introduction to Law and Legal Theory. The answers to the questions can be found by reading and reflecting upon the case of Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Respondent) v James (Appellant) [2013] UKSC 67 itself and by utilising the teaching and learning from Semester One including your study of law making, statutory interpretation, judicial precedent and reading law.
  2. It is not necessary for you to follow up any of the legislation referred to in Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Respondent) v James (Appellant) [2013] UKSC 67, nor is it essential for you to read any previous cases mentioned in the decision.
  3. In responding to the questions set, you are permitted to make use of appropriate academic literature (secondary sources) you might find, that analyses the decision in Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Respondent) v James (Appellant) [2013] UKSC 67.
  4. You will need to cite any evidence (including the case) in the proper manner – see the Undergraduate Handbook on plagiarism, and follow the OSCOLA guidelines found at: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/migrated/oscola_4th_edn_hart_2012.pd f

Sample Answer to this Assignment Question (Plagiarised) Do Not Copy

In arriving at its decision in "Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v James" [2013] UKSC 67, the Supreme Court employed a thorough analysis of relevant legal principles, medical evidence, and the specific circumstances of the case. Here`s a critical evaluation of the factors that likely influenced the Court`s decision:

  1. Best Interests Standard: The Court carefully considered the best interests standard, which is a fundamental principle in cases involving mentally incapacitated patients. The judges likely scrutinized the evidence presented regarding the proposed medical treatment (insertion of a feeding tube) and assessed whether it aligned with Mrs. James`s overall well-being and quality of life.

  2. Patient`s Wishes and Feelings: The Court would have examined any available evidence regarding Mrs. James`s past and present wishes and feelings regarding medical treatment. This aspect of the evaluation is crucial because it respects the patient`s autonomy and preferences, even in cases of mental incapacity.

  3. Medical Evidence: The Supreme Court likely placed significant weight on the medical evidence presented by healthcare professionals. This evidence would have included assessments of Mrs. James`s condition, the prognosis with and without the proposed treatment, potential risks and benefits, and any alternative options available.

  4. Quality of Life Considerations: The Court would have evaluated the potential impact of the proposed treatment on Mrs. James`s quality of life. This assessment involves considering not only the physical benefits or burdens of the treatment but also its effect on her emotional and psychological well-being.

  5. Likelihood of Treatment Success: The Court likely considered the likelihood of the proposed treatment (insertion of a feeding tube) achieving its intended purpose. If the treatment had a low probability of success or if the burdens outweighed the benefits, the Court would have been less inclined to authorize it.

  6. Legal Precedents and Ethical Principles: The judges likely reviewed relevant legal precedents and ethical principles governing medical decision-making for mentally incapacitated patients. This would have provided a framework for their analysis and helped ensure consistency with previous rulings and broader legal principles.

  7. Multi-disciplinary Approach: The decision may have involved input from medical experts, legal scholars, and ethicists to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the complex issues at hand.

Overall, the Supreme Court`s decision in this case would have been the result of a meticulous examination of various factors, including legal standards, medical evidence, patient preferences, and ethical considerations. By weighing these factors against each other, the Court aimed to reach a decision that prioritized Mrs. James`s best interests while respecting her autonomy and dignity as a patient with mental incapacity.

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