This anthology aims to provide Nordic perspectives on the young and evolving field of health law – or biomedical law – by reflecting on issues that have been explored within the activities of the Nordic Network for Research in Biomedical Law. In the emergence of this fairly new legal discipline, it has become very clear that the Nordic region forms a part of Europe that has been strongly influenced by both hard and soft law initiatives from the European Union and the Council of Europe, but also that Nordic identity, culture, and collaboration clearly remain an important factor in the legal development of this particular region.
The book is divided thematically into three sections. The first deals with foundational and general issues of health law, the second with patients’ rights, and the third with issues related to advancements in biomedical science.
Part One includes two chapters on the relationship between health law and human rights, together with discussions on specific Nordic approaches to the organisation and regulation of health services, to constitutional protection of the right to health and to the legal discipline of health law, as such. One chapter provides an overview of the mission and tasks of the Nordic Committee on Bioethics. The section on patient’s rights deals with the development – or absence – of special legislation on the status of patients, but also with issues of coercive care and of cultural accommodation in health services, as well as the implications that assessments and decisions made in health care services may have for the patient’s right to other entitlements, e.g. sickness benefits. In the third section, on biomedical science, one author explores the concept of human dignity while another discusses the challenges facing European integration of biomedical research regulation. Specific topics, such as different approaches to biobank regulation and genetic privacy in family relations, are also addressed, and, in the final chapter, the legal status of deceased foetuses.
While the volume provides Nordic perspectives on health law, the issues discussed are general. The book should therefore be of great interest not only to readers wanting a better understanding of the Nordic situation, but also to anyone with an interest in the challenging health law issues facing society in our time. The authors are members of the Nordic Network for Research in Biomedical Law.