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Unit information: Law and Ethics in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Law and Ethics
Unit code ORDSM0033
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Brookes
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Dental School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


This Unit of Teaching will be offered as an Optional Unit as part of a modular distance learning programme. The programme will allow students to build certificate, diploma or masters level qualifications by combining optional 20 credit units.

The Law and Ethics Unit has the following Elements and their general aims are: -

Element 1. Introduction to Law and Ethics

To develop an understanding of legal and ethical principles and their application to health services and dental practice

Element 2. The Profession, Professionalism and Regulation

To enable students to apply ethical principles to their everyday practice of dentistry in particular the concepts of consent, competence, confidentiality, privacy, truth telling and disclosure of information

Element 3. Society, the State and the NHS

To introduce students to the application of medical ethics within the health service and society and the impact of both on the practice and delivery of dental care

Element 4. Legislation and the Courts

To enable students to understand UK legislation and the courts as they impact upon the dentist and dental practice

Intended learning outcomes

Students should obtain a knowledge and understanding of the following:

  • The underpinning ethical principles and concepts that impact on dentistry
  • The key ethical issues in dentistry
  • The relationship of values on ethics on delivery of dental care and dental team
  • The issues of consent, competence, confidentiality, autonomy, harm, beneficence and justice
  • The legal underpinning that relates to the delivery of dental care
  • The balance between ethics and business demands

The student should acquire the skills and attributes necessary for:

  • Applying guidance on consent and confidentiality based on current case law
  • Managing the application of ethical principles to the practice of every day dentistry

Teaching details

Teaching will use a blended learning approach delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities. Students will be expected to engage with all learning.

A range of teaching are used in the unit including:

  • Self directed CAL sessions
  • Seminars with videos
  • Reflecting writing
  • Workshops - case studies and practical exercises

Assessment Details

Assessment Details This Unit will have the following summative assessments: - 1. Two written coursework assignments (50%) 2. Four online assignments (20%) 3. A final examination comprising an MCQ paper (30%) All assessments must be passed ≥ 50% and there is no compensation between the individual assessments.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ORDSM0033).