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Genetics Law

Coram is a leading family law chambers providing representation and advice to clients in London and across England and Wales.

Matt Ridley, the author of Genome: The Autobiography of a Species wrote in 1999: “In just a few short years we will have moved. from knowing almost nothing about our genes to knowing everything. I genuinely believe that we are living through the greatest intellectual moment in history. Bar none.”

Issues of law raised by advances in genetic technology:

Human Rights Law

  • Article 8 rights;
  • Genetic information as familial information;
  • The right to know and the right not to know – and who has the right to know/store the genetic profile of a particular person;
  • Informational self-determination, confidentiality and privacy.


Family Law

  • Article 8 rights with respect to genetic modification, privacy, access to information about family relations;
  • The child’s right to an open future and modern genetics;
  • Access to advanced genetic technologies for assisted reproduction;
  • Paternity testing on existing DNA profiles;
  • Mitochondrial donation and other advanced assisted reproduction technologies.


Criminal Law

  • Forensic uses of genetic profiles and biobank information;
  • Secondary identification of family members through genetic profiles;
  • Predictive policing on the basis of genetics;
  • DNA engineering and crime scene reliability.


Public Law

  • Privacy, discrimination and public health;
  • Challenging medico-legal norms: the role of autonomy, confidentiality and privacy in protecting individual and family group right’s;
  • Access to innovative treatments and technologies – regulatory law in assisted reproduction and gene therapy.


Employment and Insurance Law

  • Discrimination and employment: genetic testing and employee protection;
  • Duties of care towards employees: genetic health, epigenetics and the work environment;
  • Access to insurance cover and genetic health.


Biotechnology Law

  • Cloning and infirmity;
  • DNA and privacy, consenting to research;
  • Possession and ownership of DNA – commercialisation aspects of genetics;
  • Incidental findings in genetics;
  • Enhancement and genetic engineering (CRISPR/Cas);
  • Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products, innovative health technologies.


The blank cheque:

  • Ulrich Beck wrote in 1993 in his work “Risk Society”:

“…The age of human genetics, the reality of which people are debating today, actually started long ago. One can say ‘no’ to progress, but that does not change its course at all. Progress is a blank cheque to be honoured beyond consent and legitimation…” Coram Chambers seek to be in the vanguard of those who work to develop the law to honour that blank cheque.

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