'Genetic Discrimination-An EU Level Response', November 19, 2011

The CENTRE FOR DISABILITY LAW AND POLICY will co-host a one-day conference with the BURTON BLATT INSTITUTE entitled ‘Genetic Discrimination – Transatlantic Perspectives on the Case for a European Level Legal Response’.

It will take place on 19th November, 2011 in Aras Moyola (Ground Floor), North Campus, National University of Ireland, Galway, commencing at 9am.

The purpose of this conference is to examine the case for a European level legal and policy response to protect the privacy of genetic information and to prevent genetic discrimination, particularly in the employment and insurance contexts.

The science of genetic testing and related technology is in the process of advancing. Among other things, genetic testing technology may well offer the prospect of being able to detect the onset of future disabilities. The technology is becoming more prevalent and is being used increasingly in both the employment context and the insurance context. If insufficient protections are not in place to prohibit the misuse or discriminatory use of that information by third parties (employers, insurance companies, educational facilities, etc) then such a legislative and policy vacuum could further setback the inclusion of persons with disabilities (and older persons) into the community. To date, there is no European level regulation protecting the privacy of such information or protecting against the discriminatory use of such information.

This conference recounts recent scientific advances that make genetic testing more and more accurate and more sophisticated. It looks at the ethical debate on how to balance competing rights and interests (the right to privacy of the individual and the ‘need to know’ of business and other interests). It examines the balance struck in the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (2008) in the US. Keeping in mind the technological advances (and its future orientation) the ethical context and the balance struck in the US legislation it will examine the options for a European legal response possibly in the shape of a new non-discrimination (genetic information) Directive (or an amendment to existing Directives) and whether a sufficient case exists of such a response.

The conference is aimed at legal practitioners and medical practitioners, academics and researchers, NGOs and those involved in disability issues, bioethics and practice. It is also aimed at those interested in medical testing generally as well as genetic testing specifically.

There will be Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points available to those who are eligible and a Certificate of Attendance will be provided after the Conference.

For further information please contact Ms. Aisling de Paor at aisling.depaor@nuigalway.ie or telephone +353 91 494017.