Does the law on compensation for research-related injury in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand meet ethical requirements?

Joanna Manning1

1Faculty Of Law University Of Auckland

Despite a broad consensus that society owes an ethical obligation to compensate for research-related injury, and that no-fault is the best ethical response, an assessment of the compensation arrangements in place in the UK, Australia and New Zealand reveals that in general compensation arrangements fall below this ethical expectation. Most subjects rely on an unenforceable assurance of payment or ex gratia payment in the event of injury. It is also likely that, given significant deficiencies in participant information about the compensation arrangement in place for the trial recommended by supervisory bodies in each jurisdiction, subjects only find out about their financial exposure in the event of injury when submitting a claim. Reliance on industry-drafted guidelines regulating compensation in commercially-sponsored trials has not served to protect subjects’ interests, but have been drafted and function to protect the interests of industry. The presentation considers potential options for injured participants and governments to the ethical deficiency of the compensation arrangements.


Joanna Manning is a Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Auckland, where she teaches and has published widely on issues of health law, policy, and ethics; torts, including negligence; and accident compensation, particularly treatment injury and medical misadventure. She was the consumer representative on the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for approx 10 years, the lawyer member of the National Ethics Advisory Committee from 2005 to 2011 and the lawyer member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Heart Foundation NZ (2011-2014).

About the Association

The Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law (AABHL) was formed in 2009.

It encourages open discussion and debate on a range of bioethical issues, providing a place where people can ask difficult questions about ideas and practices associated with health and illness, biomedical research and human values.

The AABHL seeks to foster a distinctive Australasian voice in bioethics, and provide opportunities for international engagement through its membership, journal and conferences.

Members come from all the contributing humanities, social science and science disciplines that make up contemporary bioethics.

Many members have cross-disciplinary interests and all seek to broaden the dialogues in which all members of the wider community ultimately have an interest.

The AABHL is a supportive, creative and challenging community that provides a rich source of continuing academic refreshment and renewal.

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