The purpose of the ISCL is to encourage the comparative study of law and legal systems and to seek affiliation with individuals and organisations with complimentary aims. We were established in June 2008 and are recognised by the International Academy of Comparative Law.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Toward a Mature Doctrine of Informed Consent: Lessons from a Comparative Law Analysis

Under the doctrine of informed consent, physicians owe patients a duty to disclose to them all material risks of a contemplated treatment or procedure. While the doctrine is generally well accepted in the United States and several other common law countries, it has had a rockier reception in other places. This inconsistency is on its face surprising, given that the doctrine stems from the principle of patient autonomy – a principle to which most countries supposedly subscribe. Unless the patient is in possession of sufficient information, that autonomy may be compromised. But the inconsistency is less puzzling when one considers the difficulty of applying the doctrine to the actual physician-patient relationship.

This article examines the doctrine in four countries that have had different responses to informed consent: the United States; Great Britain; Canada; and Taiwan. This comparison highlights the compromises that each of these jurisdictions has made to the foundational principles of informed consent, and then proposes a way forward by borrowing heavily from the Canadian model.

Culhane, John G., Wu, King-Jean, Faparusi, Oluyomi and Juray, Eric J., Toward a Mature Doctrine of Informed Consent: Lessons from a Comparative Law Analysis (November 14, 2012). British Journal of American Legal Studies, Vol. 1, p. 551 (2012); Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-37.