Dr Sara Fovargue, Lancaster University Dr Alexandra Mullock, University of Manchester
The relationship between medical practice and criminal law is much closer than many realise. Doctors are permitted to do things that others are not, provided that what they do is regarded as ‘proper medical treatment’. The legal justification for bodily invasions in the medical context has developed according to the ‘medical exception’ to the criminal law discussed by the House of Lords in the cases of Rv Brown  and Airedale NHS Trust v Bland , and by the Law Commission in 1994. As those involved in sado-masochistic activities discovered in Brown, consent, in the absence of medical (or legitimate sporting) justification, is not enough to make harming others lawful. And in Bland, while it was legitimate for the doctors to withdraw life-sustaining treatment, if a concerned relative did the same it would become a criminal matter.
As sex industry research expands, so too do sex work preconceptions. A popular stereotype and ‘myth’ is that men are always the sex purchasers, and women the service providers. However, a recent study by Lancaster University demonstrates women buy sexual services too, in a range of settings and scenarios.
This study, led by Dr Sarah Kingston of Lancaster University promises to be the most in-depth analysis of female clients in the sex industry ever undertaken in the UK, and the early results are revealing.