University of Chester

Programme Specification
Medicolegal Practice MSc
2015 - 2016

Master of Science

Medicolegal Practice

Medicolegal Practice

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester and Law School

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

13 months full-time, 2 years part-time

6 Years

Annual - September

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Institute of Medicine

The programme has been mapped to the QAA master’s degree characteristics

Not applicable

Institute of Medicine

Wednesday 29th July 2015

The interface between medicine and the law has never been so important. Clinicians, Healthcare and social care professionals must now be able to practise in an environment where the law, e.g. the Mental Capacity Act 2005, increasingly regulates and governs clinical practice, and in which their assessments inform employers' compliance with employment law e.g. the Equality Act 2010, as well as the more traditional realms of forensic medical practice for the courts and civil litigations e.g. personal injury cases. Most of the knowledge, skills and attitudes most relevant to a professional's successful medicolegal skills are built up post-graduation.

The programme will aim both to inform and equip the individual with the necessary knowledge and skills to practise as an expert witness.

The programme aims therefore to:

  • Develop comprehension and analysis of the structure of the courts in England and Wales, and how the legal system interacts with healthcare.  
  • Identify and critically analyse awareness of medicolegal practice across international jurisdictions.
  • Develop and demonstrate comprehension of the skills and knowledge required for working with different groups in society in a medicolegal context.
  • Demonstrate knowledge, comprehension and analysis of key statutes such as the Equality Act 2010, the Mental Health Act 2007 and the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
  • Identify, analyse and evaluate key precedents in clinical negligence (such as Bolam and Bolitho).
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding, application and evaluation of civil law and personal injury claims.
  • Demonstrate comprehension and application of specific skills that enable students to practise giving court factual and expert witness testimony verbally and in written form.
  • Identify, analyse and evaluate professional attitudes, values and principles through the exploration of the ethics and philosophy of medicolegal practice.
  • Identify and critically analyse the tacit processes of clinical reasoning and professional judgement in medicine. Demonstrate knowledge and critically evaluate the role of multi-professional collaboration in the context of medicolegal practice.
  • Provide an interactive and innovative curriculum that fosters enterprise and supports a quality postgraduate educational experience relevant to the students' practice roles and context.  
  • Critically evaluate the interface between theory, research and professional practice through fostering critical analysis and reflection.
  • Contribute to the development of the growing body of applied knowledge and evidence-based practice in the medicolegal field.

 

 

On successful completion of the course, graduates will be able to critically evaluate theoretical knowledge (evidence from research, case studies and the law library) in a way which enables them to identify its relevance and critically apply that knowledge to medicolegal practice and being an expert witness.

  • LA7010, MD7034, MD7036

On completion of the programme students will have knowledge of the current court structure in England and Wales, and understand the interface between medicine and the law. An understanding of how relevant law is made and developed will be achieved.

  • LA7010, MD7034, MD7036, MD7.49, MD7051

 

The programme is designed to foster the development of the students' critical thinking skills. The close alignment of the teaching, learning and assessment methods will further enhance their analytical and reflective learning. Students on the programme are encouraged to challenge current thinking and practice. Seminars, role play and group work will provide forums for students to articulate thoughts, feelings and beliefs, and develop skills in constructing intellectual concepts for debate.

  • MD7051, MD7052

On successful completion of the programme students will be able to appraise evidence in relation to the diagnosis, causation, treatment and prognosis for court report purposes, and analyse and synthesise complex health evidence into a coherent opinion for the court. Students will be able to develop insight by relevant study or investigation into the broad range of professional opinion on a topic and communicate this objectively to the court.

  • MD7049, MD7051

The programme contains a strong practical element in the form of role play and simulation, and students are therefore required to develop advanced practical skills to be able to become expert witnesses in medicolegal practice. The underpinning theoretical and attitudinal base is placed appropriately in the module delivery so that clear links are made between theory and practice. On completion students will be expected to write a competent court report in their field of expertise. In addition students will be expected to communicate that opinion verbally, and in cross examination, in court. Again, the underpinning theoretical and attitudinal base is placed appropriately in the module delivery so that clear links are made between theory and practice.

  • LA7010, MD7034, MD7036, MD7.49, MD7051

 

Effective communication skills will be inherent in all the modules and will be assessed in specialist modules. This will be specifically demonstrated in module assessments, presentations, conferences and seminars. Application of number: Students accessing the programme will be working at a level that requires them to be numerate. Potential examples in practice are clinical measurements, audit and statistical analysis. These skills will be built upon throughout the programme, particularly in the Medicolegal Practice: Dissertation and Research Methodology module. Information technology: The students' IT skills, gained from current practice, should be such as to enable them to access the University intranet, bibliographical databases and the internet for academic and clinical studies, use the library effectively, and perform literature searches and reviews. Their existing skills will be enhanced in the library induction and information skill session at the beginning of the programme, which will be specific to the University resources. The facilities of the wider University will also be open to the student. Study skills sessions are held at the beginning of each academic year and the services of the Learning Support Tutor will be available at other times. Students' IT skills will normally be evidenced in the production of word-processed assignments. Improving own learning and performance: The entire programme is designed to facilitate the students in their development on both personal and professional levels. This will be evidenced via the assessment strategy. Working with others: The students' ability to work with others will be demonstrated in both the classroom and in their personal professional practice - for instance liaising with the court through solicitors and barristers, and liaising with other experts to produce joint reports. Problem solving: This area will be developed in all modules, and will be demonstrated through the reflective analysis of their own practice and in the practice of others when preparing expert witness reports. The programme ensures that students are facilitated in their development of key skills. Transferable Professional Skills The programme fosters many transferable skills. These may be considered under the heading of Key Skills and also include the following:

  • Effective communication skills.
  • Analytical ability, and the capacity to consider, explore and solve problems using the available evidence.
  • Effective information technology skills.
  • Project planning and project management skills, with effective self-direction and self-motivation
  • All modules

The modules have been designed to have internal integrity, and have been linked to form a coherent programme of learning in both full and part time programmes. The modules that form the post graduate certificate (MD7034, MD7049 & LA7010) provide the foundation for the programme, ensuring the student understands the structure and operation of the law courts and prepares the student for further study. Then students complete MD7049 and MD7051 where they will develop the skills needed to make an effective expert witness.  Students will then select one of two optional modules (LA7011 or MD7035), this is dependent on the students professional background and area of expertise needed. Finally student undertakes the medicolegal practice dissertation (MD7052). Here it is expected that most students will make a desk top or documentary study of an area of medicolegal practice informed by their own professional experience to advance the academic understanding of the area. However some students may wish to conduct a piece of empirical research and will be supported to do so.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
LA7010 7 Philosophy, Ethics and Medicolegal Practice 20 Comp
LA7011 7 Comparative Study of Medico Legal Issues across International Jurisdictions 20 Optional
MD7034 7 Introduction to Medicolegal Practice 20 Comp
MD7035 7 Family Law and Opinion for the Courts 20 Optional
MD7036 7 Medicolegal Practice and Criminal Proceedings 20 Comp
MD7049 7 Medicolegal Skills 20 Comp
MD7050 7 Current Clinical Practice 20 Optional
MD7051 7 Advanced Medicolegal Skills 20 Comp
MD7052 7 Dissertation and Research Methodology 60 Comp

Successful completion of MD7034 Introduction to Medicolegal Practice, MD7049 Medicolegal Skills and LA7010 Philosophy, Ethics and Medicolegal Practice, for a total of 60 level 7 credits, will lead to an exit award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Medicolegal Practice. Successful completion of the above modules, plus NMD7051 Advanced Medicolegal Skills and two further 20 credit level 7 modules chosen from a range of relevant modules, for a total of 120 level 7 credits, will lead to an exit award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Medicolegal Practice. Successful completion of the above modules, plus the 60 credit module MD7052 Medicolegal Practice: Dissertation and Research Methodology, for a total accumulation of 180 level 7 credits, will lead to the final award of an MSc in Medicolegal Practice.

None

Applicants should normally have one of the following:

  • an undergraduate Medical degree
  • hold appropriate professional qualifications and be able to demonstrate suitable background knowledge and skills.
  • Substantial relevant work experience, together with evidence of recent study or writing at an appropriate level

Overseas Candidates should also be competent in English and have achieved, as a minimum, one of the following standards: IELTS-6.5; TOEFL – 60.

Potential students may be invited to attend for interview.

 

This programme complies with the credits per module and for award as recommended in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) as identified by the QAA, and with the NQF qualifications descriptions for each Level. The module descriptors clearly demonstrate the competencies expected at each Level, and the amount of student effort required. The Level characteristics as described by the QAA in the National Qualifications Framework also relate closely to the overarching characteristics of learning as defined by the University of Chester.

 

The learning and teaching methods selected for the programme are reflective of the guidance outlined in the QAA (2010) document Master's Degree Characteristics.

A range of approaches to teaching and learning using both didactic and interactive methods will be used, and are designed to facilitate the achievement of all module learning outcomes. A student-centred approach focusing on student needs, professional standing and ability will form the philosophy and approach adopted by the module leaders, facilitating a positive learning experience. Therefore the acquisition of core knowledge, skills and attitudes will be through a combination of:

  • Lectures, which are interactive and encourage discussion and debate.
  • Case studies.
  • Seminars and workshops (including workshops on report writing, and courtroom experience sessions).
  • Role play and simulation, including debriefing.
  • Online resources.
  • Audio-visual resources, such as podcasts, videos and interactive case studies.
  • Tutorials including interactive tutorials.
  • Discussion groups.
  • Problem-based learning.
  • Peer learning.
  • Critical reflection.
  • Formative assessment.
  • Self-directed learning/tutor-directed learning.
  • Presentations and seminars by visiting lecturers and legal practitioners.
  • Supervision.
  • Action learning sets.

The programme team are committed to fostering the personal and professional development of the student. The critical and analytical development of knowledge, synthesis and understanding will be promoted by the students' involvement in action learning sets, debates, discussions, project work, case study examination, role play and critical reflection, and tutorials, and via the support of their personal academic tutor.

Inter-professional learning is addressed within the programme. Visiting lecturers and expert professionals from Law and Health and Social Care will be utilised in order to facilitate this process, and to ensure that examples and scenarios are drawn from a range of professional areas. There are a range of resources available both in the Law School and within the Faculty of Health and Social Care: these include the opportunity to use the court room and skills suites for role play and simulation, and access to the library facilities.

Students who experience difficulty in meeting the requirements of Master's level study will be able and encouraged to access the Student Support and Guidance department. The programme will provide an induction and students will be invited to the postgraduate induction day, where details of support mechanisms, library services and University regulations will be provided. This knowledge will then be reinforced in the student handbook.

 

The assessment strategies and methods selected for the programme are reflective of the guidance outlined in the QAA (2010) document Master’s degree characteristics.The programme will utilise a range of academic module assessments that reflect the nature of the Medicolegal Practice student. Students will be required to demonstrate a range of skills in meeting the academic requirements of the programme including:        

  •  Write essays that will involve critically analysing and evaluating medicolegal practice, reports, case studies and law.
  •  Critically reflect on role play activities.
  •  Undertake assessed simulation.
  •  Undertake assessed presentations.
  •  Undertake an open book examination.
  •  Write a research proposal.
  •  Undertake an empirical piece of research or a systematic review of literature.

All aspects of the assessment strategy will be used to evaluate transferable/key skills and, where relevant, mapped against national benchmarks.

There will be opportunities for formative assessment according to the host faculty's guidance on student drafts.

Postgraduates are expected to be at the forefront of contemporary practice, and to offer leadership and direction to their profession. The MSc in Medicolegal Practice offers the students the opportunity to achieve this, as well as the other characteristics of a postgraduate as determined by both the QAA and the University of Chester's assessment criteria:

  • Demonstrate critical reasoning with regard to complex issues, with an ability to explore and develop alternative solutions.
  • Critical evaluation of key concepts of knowledge. Extensive systematic reading and demonstration of insight and originality.
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge and applicable techniques which are at the forefront of professional practice.
  • Demonstrate synthesis and be able to deal with complex issues in an original manner.
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of professional knowledge and practice.
  • Ability to deploy accurately, creatively and imaginatively established techniques of analysis and enquiry.
  • Ability to critically evaluate current research, methodology and scholarship and, where appropriate, propose new hypotheses.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills which can be understood by a wide audience.

Students will have gained the skills to enable them to be an effective expert witness and as such will be in demand for legal cases related to their specialism. The fees for this type of work are substantial, and most physicians do not take this as a career path, but rather use to supplement their income.

The programmes of study in the Institute of Medicine fully embrace the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. The  University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students.  The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for.  At an Institute level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:

  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality. 
  • Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.
  • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Institute works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.
  • The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues.  Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.
  • Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.
  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking and the blue sticker scheme also enhance equal opportunity to all students.
  • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.
  • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.

All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their PAT roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise. .

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