Few issues affecting the therapeutic professions are as much discussed and as little understood as informed consent. This book, written from the combined perspectives of a physician, a lawyer, and a social scientist, is the first reference work to provide a concise overview of informed consent with particular emphasis on the practical issues facing professionals. After introducing the ethical theories behind this principle, the authors describe the history and current status of the law, detailing all legal requirements for practitioners. They consider the problems faced when these theories and laws are applied in a clinical setting, offering suggestions for simplifying the interaction between doctor and patient and for making it clinically meaningful. The stress throughout is on ways to improve practitioners' performance in meeting these ethical and legal mandates. The book will be valuable for all professionals working in areas where issues of informed consent are likely to arise, including medicine, mental health care, social work, dentistry and law.