Consent or Property: Dealing with the Body and its Parts in the Shadow of Bristol and Alder Hey

Graeme Laurie, Ken Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article first considers the tenuous base on which the law of property in the body is founded, and then discusses the practical results of this in the light of the recent furore surrounding events at Bristol and Alder Hey. The authors suggest that neither the consent-based model followed by the official inquiries into these events nor a possible policy based on a full-blown property model adequately cover the private rights of an individual's next of kin or the right of the public to an efficient and reliable pathological service within the NHS. Rather, they propose that a combined model in which a 'cascade of possession' for the recognition of various property interests is initiated by assent on the part of the next of kin and terminates in full possession of the body vested in the executor for the purposes of its disposal. The authors recommend further that any reform of the law should apply property rights to body parts taken from both the living and the dead.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberPMID: 12741391
Pages (from-to)710-729
Number of pages20
JournalModern Law Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Body as Property
  • Human Tissue
  • Consent
  • Autonomy


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