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    ABSTRACT: This paper raises questions about bioethical knowledge and the bioethical 'expert' in the context of contestation over methods. Illustrating that from the perspective of the development of bioethics, the lack of unity over methods is highly desirable for the field in bringing together a wealth of perspectives to bear on bioethical problems, that same lack of unity also raises questions as to the expert capacity of the 'bioethicist' to speak to contemporary bioethics and represent the field. Focusing in particular on public bioethics, the author argues that we need to rethink the concept of bioethicist, if not reject it. The concept of the bioethicist connotes a disciplinary or theoretical unity that is simply not present and from the perspective of public policy, it is incredibly misleading. Instead, bioethical expertise would be a capacity of a broader community, and not an individual. Such a conception of bioethics as an expert community rather than as an individual capacity, focuses our attention on the more functional question of what knowledge and skill set any individual possesses.
    Health Care Analysis 10/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: The cost of civil litigation is a key factor in determining the extent of access to justice. Following cuts in legal aid attention has focused upon finding alternative methods of assisting litigants without producing costs which are out of proportion to the damages obtained. The recent report by Lord Justice Jackson attempts to deal with concerns about increasing and disproportionate costs said to arise in part because of the encouragement of conditional fee agreements. This article considers the proposals made in the report, and argues that too little attention has been paid to before-the-event insurance as a means of securing access to justice for the great majority of claimants who suffer personal injury.
    Modern Law Review 02/2011; 74(2):272 - 286.
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    ABSTRACT: Designed by Beveridge and built by Attlee's post-war Labour government, the welfare state was created during the 1940s. Britain has been seen – in domestic debates and internationally – as a world first: the place where both the idea and the practice of the welfare state were invented. I draw together comparative welfare state analysis with law and society scholarship (previously largely developed in isolation from one another) – as well as using British political cartoons as a source – to develop a revisionist historical critique of this conventional wisdom. First, the British welfare state has always been comparatively parsimonious. Second, the idea of the welfare state seems to have its origins outside the United Kingdom and this terminology was adopted relatively late and with some ambivalence in public debate and scholarly analysis. Third, a large body of socio-legal scholarship shows that robust ‘welfare rights’ were never embedded in the British ‘welfare state’.
    Journal of Law and Society 01/2011; 38(3):343-75.
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    ABSTRACT: This article looks empirically at the notion of ‘American-style’ problems with contingency fees: in particular, the purported link between contingency fees and claims explosions. It does so in the light of renewed interest in contingency fees as a vehicle for access to justice and the resolution of costs problems in the civil justice system prompted by Jackson LJ and others. The article sheds light on the considerable debate about the (de)merits of contingency fees in one of the main – and most controversial – contexts where they are permitted: employment tribunals. The evidence casts doubt on the claim that contingency fees, coupled with US-style costs rules, lead inexorably to an explosion in litigation. The article also examines the significant inequalities in access to justice experienced by claimants and considers how far contingency fees address those concerns, suggesting limits to Kritzer's portfolio theory in relation to employment cases in England and Wales.
    Modern Law Review 08/2010; 73(5):752 - 784.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the new statutory regime for paying damages for personal injury by means of periodical payments instead of a lump sum. How are such payments to increase in future to take account of rising care costs, especially when these usually form the largest part of a major award? The answer to this question is crucial in determining the extent that the new form of payment will be used. How periodical payments are to be indexed is also a key factor in calculating the total cost of compensation and, in particular, in assessing the liabilities of the National Health Service. The issue gave rise to litigation which was voted by personal injury practitioners as the most important of the year. Here, that litigation and the statutory reforms which gave rise to it are set in their wider academic contexts.
    Legal Studies 05/2010; 30(3):391 - 407.
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    ABSTRACT: This article explores a series of paradoxes exposed by specialization within the legal profession. It will argue that while the existing literature rightly identifies specialization as posing potential challenges to coherence, legitimacy, and professional ethics, it fails to grapple with the relationship between professional competence and specialization. In exploring this relationship, three paradoxes are articulated. The first is that specialization is both a necessary element in the development of professionalism and a threat to it. The second is the normative ambiguity of specialization: specialization is capable of giving rise to both benefits and detriments. The third paradox is the profession's response to this ambiguity. It will be argued that the profession's approach is incoherent in public interest terms and can be best explained as part of a desire to protect its members' interests and its collective identity over the public interest in competence. These arguments are made in the context of a series of three empirical studies of specialists and nonspecialists in legal aid practice in England and Wales. The evidence is worrying enough to suggest significant concerns about the quality and indeed legitimacy of the professional qualification as a general warrant of competence. The implications for institutionalizing specialization within the legal profession are discussed.
    Law &amp Policy 03/2010; 32(2):226 - 259.
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    ABSTRACT: In view of developments in reproductive medicine, clinical mishaps in this domain are beginning to give rise to 'injuries' not easily accommodated within the English law of negligence. While 'personal injury' is typically understood as manifesting a deleterious 'physical' dimension, cases involving the negligent destruction of cryopreserved sperm, as recently litigated in Yearworth & Ors v Bristol NNN Trust (2009), and other media reported mishaps in fertility treatment do not straightforwardly possess this quality. Without modification, the traditional tortious conception of 'personal injury' in English law will not be able to address novel claims. Critically, however, nor do alternative modes of redress seem to offer ease of application. Focusing upon the controversial Yearworth case and exploring what is seen as an unpromising framing of loss, the note argues that there is now an urgent need to rethink what counts as 'personal injury'. Arguing for the formal recognition of'reproductive injury' as an independent head of damage in negligence, and illustrating the presence of judicial support for that approach, the comment suggests that in light of the difficult challenges that lie in the wake of Yearworth, such a development may be not only desirable but necessary.
    European Journal of Health Law 03/2010; 17(1):81-95.
  • Constellations 03/2009; 16(1):44 - 58.
  • Journal of medical ethics 01/2009; 34(12):831-2.
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    ABSTRACT: In Tysiac v. Poland (2007) the Strasbourg Court ruled in favour of the applicant (who had been denied access to a lawful therapeutic abortion), finding that Poland had failed to comply with its positive obligations to safeguard the applicant's right to effective respect for her private life under Article 8. Exploring this controversial judgment, the author assesses the claim that Tysiac marks a 'radical shift' on the part of the Court in creating a 'right to abortion'. The author argues that while Tysiac makes an important addition to abortion jurisprudence, the notion it founds such a 'right' greatly overstates the legal significance of this case.
    European Journal of Health Law 01/2009; 15(4):361-79.
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