Recent Question/Assignment

1. Describe the test for causation in Australian negligence law and discuss how it may impact on assessing the liability of doctors.
If you choose this question, your essay must do the following:
- Set out the basic requirements of the law of negligence in Australia and describe the role of causation when assessing liability for negligent actions (approximately 40% of your words);
- Explain how the practical operation of healthcare practice may impact on the application of the test of causation when judging the behaviour of doctors. Expressed differently, this section of the essay allows you to consider how effectively the causation test in negligence law helps fulfil the policy goal of enhancing patient welfare (approximately 50% of your words);
- Your analysis must include and integrate discussion of the cases we have considered in the classes on negligence as it is applied to health care practitioners; and
- You will also need to include an introductory paragraph and a conclusion in your essay (approximately 10% of your words).
Please read the following paragraphs on the expectations for your essay:
• Structure your paper. Use informative headings and sub-headings to guide the reader through your paper.
• In order to write this paper you will need to do research, i.e. find relevant authority in the case law (if and where applicable) and (in this case probably more so) in the literature, and to analyse these materials. Any insight you gain from these materials and that you use in your paper must be properly footnoted. In law we usually follow the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th ed., 2018, https://law.unimelb.edu.au/mulr#aglc; see also below). In this particular course of the Sir Walter Murdoch School, however, you are probably faced with many citation styles and certainly political scientists are known to sometimes take, dare I say, a strict and peculiar approach. In our unit you can chose any style you want. What is important is that you actually do reference properly (omitting to do so constitutes plagiarism!) and that your referencing style allows the reader to identify your source without further research.
• You are expected to employ your critical and analytical skills in this essay. Avoid mere description or regurgitation unless absolutely necessary for the reader to understand your text and do not block-quote excessively. Both your observations and your use of other people's writing should reflect this critical/analytical dimension. In sum, your intellectual input should be clearly discernible in the paper.
• You are not marked for your political or social views or opinions, but rather for your ability to present coherent, rational and logical arguments, properly supported by authority.
• You are also marked on your ability to express yourself clearly, logically and succinctly. Poor expression, grammar, punctuation and spelling will detract from your overall mark.
• Please note that your research effort, visible in the citations in the footnotes and demonstrated by your engagement with the material you have found, analysed and implemented into your own writing (and properly referenced in the footnotes) will be the central pillar for the mark you will receive.
• Your research paper should not exceed 2000 words (inclusive of footnotes). The word count is primarily there to protect you. It is not a bean-counting exercise and is relevant mainly for equity reasons to ensure no one has an advantage because they wrote much more. Even if you are below the word limit you should still review your text for redundancy and succinctness and more so if you are above.
• Use APA 6 referencing style

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