n South African Law Journal - Where to from ? Lessons from recent developments in South Africa and abroad regarding consent to treatment and the standard of disclosure

Volume 124, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



, decided over a decade ago, remains the definitive ruling on the standard of disclosure required for informed consent to a surgical procedure. The subsequent adoption of the Constitution and entrenchment of the rights to dignity and bodily integrity highlight that South African society is currently founded on the underlying values of individual autonomy and self-determination. Although these values were considered in the case, this was not done in light of the constitutional imperative to develop the common law. The paper analyses the current position in South Africa regarding informed consent and, by drawing on decisions of other common law jurisdictions, sets out how matters such as these might be answered in the future. Examining the recent trends in this area of the law both abroad and in South Africa, it concludes that the South African courts should re-examine and develop the current standard of disclosure in order truly to embrace patient autonomy, reflect international trends and to give effect to constitutional values.

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