The Nuremberg Code arose as part of the trial of the
United States v. Karl
Brandt. Karl Brandt and others were tried at Nuremberg for crimes against
humanity committed in their roles as the Nazi high command. The code has 10
1. The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This
means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent,
should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice without
the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or
other ulterior form of constraint or coercion and should have sufficient
knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved
as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This
latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision
by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature,
duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is
to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected;
and their effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his
participation in the experiment. The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the
quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs, or
engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility, which may
not be delegated to another with impunity.
2. The experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of
society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and
unnecessary in nature.
3. The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal
experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other
problem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance of
4. The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical
and mental suffering and injury.
5. No experiment should be conducted where there is a prior reason to believe
that death or disabling injury will occur, except perhaps, in those experiments
where the experimental physicians also serve as subject.
6. The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the
humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.
7. Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to
protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury,
disability, or death.
8. The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons.
The highest degree of skill and care should be required through all stages of
the experiment of those who conduct or engage in the experiment.
9. During the course of the experiment the human subject should be at liberty
to bring the experiment to an end if he has reached the physical or mental
state where continuation of the experiment seems to him to be impossible.
10. During the course of the experiment the scientist in charge must be
prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probable cause
to believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill, and careful
judgment required of him, that a continuation of the experiment is likely to
result in injury, disability, or death to the experimental subject. [Nuremberg
Code, Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Tribunals under Control
Council Law No. 10.]