American Journal of Law & Medicine

Medical Law in New Zealand.(Book review)

New Zealand is renowned in the United States and around the globe for three things: its dramatic scenery, its ubiquitous sheep, and its highly progressive health care and medicolegal systems. Peter Jackson and Tourism New Zealand have acquainted Americans with the first two of these, and in their recent book, Medical Law in New Zealand, Peter Skegg and Ron Paterson provide a guide to the third.

This collection of papers has a distinguished roster of editors and contributors from the leading law schools in New Zealand: the University of Auckland and the University of Otago. Skegg is a senior scholar in health law at Otago who spent a decade and a half on the law faculty at Oxford. Paterson has had a long career in both academia and health management, and has served as New Zealand's Health and Disability Commissioner since 2000. Each of the book's contributors received legal training in more than one country, allowing them to impart a cross-cultural perspective that makes the book valuable to scholars outside of New Zealand.

The editors have done a commendable job of drawing the expertise and styles of the different authors together into a cohesive and readable whole. The volume is concisely written, beautifully organized, and indexed, making relevant information very accessible to scholars, practitioners, and students alike.

The book is divided into eight sections. An introductory section by Skegg and Paterson covers the organization and oversight of health care delivery in New Zealand and outlines New Zealand's Code of Patients' Rights, which was introduced in the mid-1990s. Next, Skegg and contributor Joanna Manning discuss the two core areas of health care law that have evolved from the common law: informed consent and the standard of care in malpractice eases. From there, the book's focus shifts to legal principles governing the protection and disclosure of private health information, both of which are ably explicated by contributor John Dawson. …

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