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Robson Hall student receives national award for research

March 29, 2016 — 

A Robson Hall student’s research on physician-assisted dying is gaining national recognition.

Juris Doctor candidate Carson Falk took home a JSD Tory Writing Award – one of two top prizes at the 9th Annual Canadian Law Student Conference at the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor on March 17 and 18 of this year.

“The conference’s theme was ‘using legal research as a tool for social change’,” said Falk. “Being able to contribute my work toward that goal was was humbling.

“I was honoured to be recognized, and to be able to represent Robson Hall to our colleagues from other law schools across the country.”

JSD Tory Writing Awards each consist of $500 and an invitation to submit the paper for publication in the Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues.

Falk’s paper, titled Mortal (re)Coil: The Negative Implications of Insurance in Cases of Physician-Assisted Dying, examines the potential for a troublesome relationship between insurance and the relatively new idea of physician-assisted dying.

“My paper focuses on the procedure surrounding qualifying for physician-assisted death,” said Falk. “More specifically, I argue factors taken into consideration in that decision should broaden to include non-medical factors. I use health and life insurance policies as non-medical factors that can unduly influence or coerce a patient into making a decision to undergo (or not to undergo) a physician-assisted death.”

Falk’s paper uses examples in American legislation, examining whether or not current laws address these issues. The paper makes recommendations for ways Canadian law can take these non-medical factors into account.

“I can’t think of many times I’ve found a topic so interesting,” said Falk. “Even fewer are the number of times I was able to engage with such a topic meaningfully or originally. It was incredibly rewarding.”

Falk cites guidance from his supervisor on the paper, Associate Dean and Professor Mary Shariff, as invaluable in his research efforts.

“I’m so grateful to Prof. Shariff for allowing me to pursue this topic and paper, and for all her assistance along the way,” he said.

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