Legal and regulatory issues in medical practice and research constitute a key research domain of the Centre for Biomedical Ethics. From the twentieth century onwards, medicine has drawn closer to law for a number of reasons. Due in part to technological advancement, the medical profession not only has greater access to public records, it also has become intimately involved with matters of life and death. Certain values have become important in a doctor-patient relationship, including informed consent and respect for privacy and confidentiality of patients.
Doctors possess a special set of knowledge and skills in the practice of medicine, and a duty of care generally exists between a doctor and his or her patient. In Singapore, the law has primarily deferred to professional medical knowledge to determine an appropriate standard of care, although developments in other jurisdictions suggest that important changes may occur in the foreseeable future. The relevance and application of the law to medical practice and/or research is an important component in enhancing responsible and accountable practice.