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Valid consent to medical treatment
  1. Emma Cave
  1. Durham Law School, Durham University, Durham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Emma Cave, Durham Law School, Durham University, Durham, UK; emma.cave{at}


When consent to medical treatment is described as ‘valid’, it might simply mean that it has a sound basis, or it could mean that it is legally valid. Where the two meanings are regularly interchanged, however, it can lead to aspects of the sound basis or the legal requirements being neglected. This article looks at how the term is used in a range of guidance on consent to treatment and argues for consistency.

  • informed consent
  • tort law

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement There are no data in this work.

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