Law and the Human Body: Property Rights, Ownership and Control

Do you own your body? Advances in science and the development of genetic databases have added an aura of modern controversy to this long-standing and, as yet, unresolved problem. In particular, English law governing separated human tissue (including organs, DNA and cell-lines) is unsatisfactory. Despite the enactment of the Human Tissue Act 2004 UK, it remains uncertain what property rights living persons can claim over tissue separated from their bodies. The development of clear legal principles is necessary to protect the rights of individuals while also enabling the efficient use of such materials in medical research. Part I of Law and the Human Body traces the evolution of English, Australian, United States and Canadian law in relation to human tissue separated from living persons and dead bodies. This includes a comprehensive examination of the Human Tissue Act 2004 UK as well as prominent judicial decisions, including Re Organ Retention Group Litigation [2005] QB 506, Colavito v New York Organ Donor Network Inc 8 NY 3d 43 (NY CA 2006) and Washington University v Catalona 490 F 3d 667 (8th Cir 2007). Analysis demonstrates that, although property rights and non-proprietary interests in separated human tissue are recognised in limited circumstances, no principled basis has been accepted either at common law or by statute for the recognition of these rights and interests. Part II of this book develops and defends a principled basis in English law for the creation and legal recognition of property rights and non-proprietary interests in separated human tissue. Significantly, the analysis and principles presented in Law and the Human Body have application across common law and civil law jurisdictions worldwide...a welcome and stimulating addition to the debate...Thought-provoking, unflinching, thoroughly researched in its descriptive content and well worth reading, it will appeal to academics across a range of disciplines, legal practitioners, policy-makers, lawmakers, biomedical researchers and biobanking professionals alike, both in the UK and internationally...One can also applaud the very welcome and timely addition of this significant, stimulating, refreshingly frank and often provocative new work to the growing canon of literature in this dynamic and important area. Susan M. C. Gibbons, Medical Law Review ...a welcome addition to the literature of law and medicine. It summarises the existing state of the law comprehensively and provides informed insights into the way the law can legitimately employ property rights to govern an increasingly complicated area. The author is to be commended for a well-written, accessible book that is useful to both the legal and medical communities. Ben Kremer, Bar News (The Journal of the NSW Bar Association) ...a clear, comprehensive and modern treatment of a central legal and bioethical debate which no student or teacher of the law in that area can do extremely useful volume which will be equally valuable to honours and postgraduate students and their teachers, and to researchers whose primary expertise is in another field but who find themselves in need of a reliable and readable guide to these issues. Mary Ford, The Edinburgh Law Review ...a well written, largely black letter, book which engages in close and careful legal analysis and proffers a skilfully crafted argument. It is a readable and compelling thesis which deserves a wide audience within both the academic and practitioner global legal communities. David Price, Medical Law International ...provides a powerful indictment of the current law on bodies. The first part of this book lays bare the lack of legal principle and analysis that underlies the law, even in the recent Human Tissue Act 2004. This is done in a scholarly and effective way. I have no doubt that Hardcastle's proposals for reform would produce a more intellectually satisfying state for the law to be in. Jonathan Herring, Legal Studies