Informed consent: The UK perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter considers the current legal position of informed consent in the UK. Recognising and protecting the rights of individuals to be self-determining has now garnered support in all aspects of health care provision and its regulation. While medical paternalism has lost ground, the support of individual autonomy and the informed consent mandate may be tempered by external factors in practice, such as resource allocation, questions over mental capacity, age or a patient’s desire to have knowledge (or not) about their medical status. At the micro level, there is greater judicial willingness to adopt a broader interpretation of capacity in a number of areas; while at a macro level, the UK’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) has presented the potential to further change the legal landscape around mental incapacity which could directly impact on informed consent. Since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] clinicians also face a heightened level of information disclosure required of them. With patients now having a right to being fully apprised of all material risks relating to all treatment options and the level of information sharing is now a decision for patients and not clinicians, all health care workers face a much more stringent disclosure threshold.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformed Consent and Health
Subtitle of host publicationA Global Analysis
EditorsThierry Vansweevelt , Nicola Glover-Thomas
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
Pages74 - 100
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)978 1 78897 342 7
ISBN (Print)978 1 78897 341 0
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020

Publication series

NameGlobal Perspectives on Medical Law
PublisherEdward Elgar


  • Information disclosure
  • consent
  • autonomy
  • capacity
  • Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board
  • uk


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