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Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Staff and Governance

To contact the IMEMS administrative office please use the following details:

For the Administrator (maternity cover)


T: 0191 334 6574

For the Administrative Assistant


T: 0191 334 42974


Associate Director (World Heritage): Professor Robin Coningham - view profile

Associate Director: Professor Barbara Ravelhofer - view profile

Core Staff

The day-to-day running of IMEMS is the responsibility of the Core Executive Committee, comprising the Director and Associate Directors and the Administrator. 

Publication details

Maehle, Andreas-Holger (2015). Preserving Confidentiality or Obstructing Justice? Historical Perspectives on a Medical Privilege in Court. Journal of Medical Law and Ethics 3(1-2): 91-108.

Author(s) from Durham


An important problem for medical confidentiality in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was the question if doctors could be required to give evidence in court about their patients’ condition. On the one hand, knowledge that personal information might be divulged in open court might prevent patients from consulting a doctor in sensitive illnesses, to the detriment of their health as well as of public health. On the other hand, valuable evidence might be lost through exclusions of medical testimony, perhaps even leading to errors of justice. This paper compares the different approaches that have been taken to this problem in Britain, the USA, and Germany, and highlights key arguments, cases, and regulations that have shaped the issue of a medical privilege in court. It shows that the origins of the different routes taken – from rejection of a medical privilege to its inclusion in codes of civil and criminal procedure – lay in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Moreover, it suggests that the treatment of confidentiality in court reflected the power relations between the legal and medical professions.

Full Executive Committee

Our Full Executive Committee is made up of the Core Executive Committee, listed above, plus a number of executive members including:

International Advisory Board

We are extremely fortunate to have be able to call on the help and guidance of colleagues from around the world who help to shape and guide our direction, strategy and international reach. Our current Advisory Board members are: