Firstly, the authors come from nursing and medical backgrounds, but are also law lecturers. Undoubtedly, their practical experience of healthcare settings, enhanced by their legal backgrounds, provides a unique insight into medical law. The authors illustrate topics with authoritative case law, and where relevant, primary and secondary legislation. Refreshingly, the authors also manage to discuss obiter dicta (persuasive statements made in passing by judges, which although not binding, may be influential on later decisions), something which many other books sadly fail to do.
It was nice to see comparative analyses of case law and legislation from other (non-UK) jurisdictions, eg, in the section on assisted dying, and also discussion on relevant EU law. It is extremely well priced at £24.99 and the reader can additionally benefit from access to an easy to use companion website to get topic updates (but interestingly I could not find an entry on the website relating to the Supreme Court landmark ruling Jones v Kaney  that removed expert witness immunity).
Each chapter begins with a topic map and this serves to put subjects into neat headings. The chapters comprise: The Scope and Nature of Medical Law and Ethics; The Contemporary Healthcare Environment; Clinical Negligence; Capacity and Consent to Medical Treatment; The Beginning of Life; Children; Clinical Research; Human Tissue and Transplantation; Mental Health Law; The End of Life; and Future Challenges.
All apart from the last chapter are fairly standard stock in medical law texts, so it was good to see the last chapter included. It would have been nice to see more on the broader changes brought by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, and more detailed explanation of the regulation of healthcare professionals. Also, I would have preferred to have seen more discussion on methods of alternative dispute resolution and legal processes from service of claim to settlement, maybe as appendices, or in the chapter on clinical negligence.
The authors develop the reader’s understanding using practical scenarios to illustrate important but not straightforward principles
As expected, there are areas of medical law which overlap chapters, (eg, consent in chapters on mental health law, ethics and research) but topic analyses are not duplicated in the chapters; if anything, they are developed in subsequent sections. I found it more helpful to read the end of chapter summaries at the beginning to help signpost how the chapters evolve, but that is only a personal preference. The authors develop the reader’s understanding using practical scenarios to illustrate important but not straightforward principles.
Key terms are expanded for the reader with little background knowledge, but these are also useful for those with more experience in the area as aide memoires. A minor criticism is I found the text blocks a little hard to wade through in places – this is not unusual in books that tackle medical law and ethics, but in general, good use is made of headings and subheadings to break up the text. The book is sufficiently indexed and suggestions for further reading are provided, which mostly appeared relevant.
Overall, I would highly recommend Medical Law, a book that manages to bridge the gap between an introductory and more substantive textbook. It will appeal to law and medical students who have chosen medical law modules, but will also appeal to postgraduate medical and other healthcare practitioners. Lawyers with an interest in medical law will find this a useful general textbook.