Conference: European Understandings of Advance Decision-making

12th September 2017 University of Leeds, Leeds, UK


Registration for the conference is free, but compulsory. Numbers are limited and early registration is highly recommended. Please register via Eventbrite: Bursaries will be available to fund travel and accommodation costs for PhD students – please email if you wish to apply for financial support. The conference is aimed at both academic and professional attendees.

Keynote speakers

Professor John Ellershaw (Professor of Palliative Medicine, University of Liverpool)
Professor Rob Heywood (Professor of Medical Law, University of East Anglia).


Dr Louise Bramley, University of Nottingham: Negotiating care services with frailty: Implications for decision making and advance care panning.  Abstract

Astrid Gieselmann & Professor Jochen Vollmann, Ruhr Universität Bochum: How should advance directives be implemented in psychiatry? Clinicians’ attitudes toward different types of advance directives in psychiatric treatment in Germany.  Abstract

Dr Samantha Halliday, University of Leeds, & Professor Jean McHale, University of Birmingham: Basic care, advance decisions and the Burke effect. Abstract

Dr Ruth Horn: “Why should I question a patient’s wish?” A comparative study on physicians’ perspectives on their duties to respect advance directives.  Abstract

Gillian Loomes, University of York: Cripping the Crystal Ball: Exploring the Synergies and Tensions when Advance Care Planning and Disability Politics Meet.  Abstract

Dr Alicia Perez Blanco, Hospital Universitario de La Princesa, Madrid: Can advance care planning enhance decision-making at end-of-life in the Intensive Care Unit?  Abstract

Kevin De Sabbata, University of Leeds, Advance Directives, Dementia and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A new role for anticipated will.  Abstract

Professor Jo Samanta, De Montfort University: Advance decisions and Welfare LPAs: belt and braces for advance care planning?  Abstract

Dr Lucy Stephenson, Kings’ College London: Provision for Self-Binding Advance Directives Should be Included in Mental Health Act Reform.  Abstract


This interdisciplinary conference marks the culmination of the ESRC research seminar series ‘Towards a European understanding of advance decision-making: a comparative, interdisciplinary approach’.

Advance medical decision-making occurs in a range of situations, encompassing decisions relating to end-of-life treatment, typically focussed upon refusals of life-sustaining treatment; advance decisions concerning physical health care unrelated to end of life care, including for example birth plans which typically include positive requests for treatments (e.g. an epidural) as well as refusals of treatment; and ADs relating to psychiatric treatment, where individuals with severe mental illness set out their treatment preferences. In each of these situations an advance decision can act as an important mechanism for conveying precedent autonomy, bridging the occurrence of incapacity and providing a clear statement of how the patient wants to be treated, or more usually what treatment the patient does not wish to be given. Anticipatory decision-making offers great promise and could make a substantial contribution to the empowerment of those lacking capacity, but there are important asymmetries between anticipatory and contemporaneous decision-making that could potentially undermine both the legal and moral authority of an advance decision. The Council of Europe’s Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (1997) requires that account is taken of a patient’s previously expressed wishes (Article 9), demanding at least a minimal consideration of precedent autonomy. A number of European jurisdictions have gone further, seeking to clarify the standing of advance decisions and to promote legal certainty by providing statutory recognition of the importance and binding nature of at least some advance decisions.

The conference will consider European responses to anticipatory decision-making, considering different models of regulation and seeking to explore those responses within the practical contexts within which advance decision-making occurs. We are particularly interested in linking legal discourse with policy and practice discourses and the (dis)connect between law, practice and professional guidance.

The conference is generously funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC).


This conference is part of the research seminar series ‘Towards a European understanding of advance decision-making: a comparative, interdisciplinary approach’ funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It is being organised by the grant holders, Dr Samantha Halliday, Prof. Jörg Richter and Prof Gillian Hundt.


Abstracts for papers of around 20 minutes from stakeholders, practitioners and researchers from all disciplines are invited. Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words to by 15th June 2017. Applicants should expect to hear from the convenors by 20th June 2017.