HKU and the University of Cambridge have signed a partnership agreement to collaborate on emerging issues on medical ethics, law and policy. Professor John Spencer of Cambridge U and Mr Terry Kaan of HKU Centre for Medical Ethics and Law officiated at the ceremony. The partnership is funded by the Hatton Trust and the WYNG Foundation. A lectureship and a junior research fellowship will be created to sponsor two scholars to visit HKU Centre for Medical Ethics and Law to spend up to four weeks at the University each year. Following the signing ceremony, Professor John Spencer gave a public lecture on “Criminalising sickness? Liability for the transmission of disease”. Professor Spencer explored the moral, legal and logistical dimensions of imposing civil or criminal liability for transmitting illness to another person. Professor Spencer’s talk focused on a UK rule that an HIV-positive person may be found to have maliciously inflicted grievous bodily harm for knowingly having unprotected sexual intercourse with an unaware partner. Researchers and advocacy groups have pointed out that the additional stigma and burden are potentially imposed upon the sick by such legal consequences. The wider relevance of the topic and the future of legislation around the transmission of illness are considerable interest in Hong Kong, where emerging infectious diseases are of constant concern and high in public awareness. For more, see HKU Press Release. Professor Spencer's lecture can be viewed here.
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