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Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences

Faculty of Law

Wyng-Hatton Lecture, University of Hong Kong

Is it possible to incur civil or criminal liability for transmitting your illness to another person? And as a matter of principle, should it be possible?

In recent years this topic has generated a heated discussion in the UK. Ten years ago, the Criminal Division of the (English) Court of Appeal held that a person may commit the statutory offence of maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm if, knowing he is HIV positive, he has unprotected sexual intercourse with someone who is unaware of his condition, and thereby infects them.

Whilst welcomed by some, this ruling has been sharply criticised by others. They say that it is unfair to penalise the sick, and they argue that, at least in certain situations, the responsibility for preventing the spread of infection should rest upon the shoulders of the well – who should take steps to avoid catching the disease – rather than on the sick, to avoid spreading it.

In his lecture Professor Spencer will examine this debate and give his views on the merits of the respective arguments.

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PowerPoint Slides:
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Tuesday, 16 September, 2014 - 12:00