Transnational crimes related to health: How should the law respond to the illicit organ tourism?

Authors

  • Sheelagh McGuinness,

    Corresponding author
    1. Birmingham Law School
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  • Jean V McHale

    Corresponding author
    1. Birmingham Law School
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    • We would like to thank John Coggon, Rob Cryer, Marie Fox, John Harrington and Stephen Latham for comments on previous drafts of this paper. We are also grateful to audiences at the Current Legal Issues Conference 2012 and the WG Hart Legal Workshop 2012 for discussion on the presentation of previous drafts of this paper.

Abstract

In this paper, to paraphrase Scheper-Hughes, we explore the contested legalities and illegalities of medical tourism. Increasingly, individuals are travelling outside of their home jurisdiction to access health services. This may be for a range of reasons: for speed, for cheapness or in some cases to bypass criminal restrictions at state level. This paper explores those who fall into the latter category and who travel to avoid statutory or regulatory prohibitions in relation to certain clinical procedures in England and Wales. In this paper, we consider the appropriate legal response to illicit transplant tourism. We examine the legitimacy of using extra-territorial jurisdiction to enforce the ban on the commercial trade in organs found in the Human Tissue Act 2004. We suggest that this, along with the recent Draft Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs, provide an effective response to the transnational crime of illicit organ tourism.

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