Undue influence, consent and medical treatment

Cameron Stewart, Andrew Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In certain instances the law recognizes that a person’s free will may be so influenced by another that agreements made by that person should be set aside. The primary philosophical basis for this doctrine of ‘undue influence’ is respect for individual autonomy and the need to ensure that people have freely chosen a course of action, before the law will make that course of action binding upon them. In the past, the doctrine of undue influence was confined to situations involving the transfer of property (such as gifts, wills or purchases). But the doctrine is also relevant to consents to medical treatment, most commonly in cases where a patient refuses treatment because of the influence of family members. The purpose of this article is to provide a general outline of the legal concept of undue influence and then to consider its recent application in medical lawsuits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-601
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Royal Society of Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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