Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


5000 level

Course handbook


This course introduces students to key legal and policy topics relevant to the delivery of health care and bioethics. Key topics include: legal foundations of the health care system; international human rights laws and the right to health; consent to health care and medical treatment; genetic technologies and regulations; human reproductive technologies; public health, including infectious and chronic disease control; and end of life care. The course focuses on the contemporary Australian context and incorporates some international comparative material and international human rights laws.


Newcastle City Precinct

    Learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

    1. Explain key legal principles relevant to the fields of health law studied in this course, including principles of consent, bodily integrity, and public health regulations.

    2. Apply critical analysis and problem-solving skills to a range of health law and policy problems

    3. Compare and contrast different legal and policy approaches to addressing health law problems with regard to international human rights laws.

    4. Critique and justify options for law reform and engage with public policy to suggest amendments or alternatives to the existing rules and practices in health law.

    5. Develop written and oral communication skills consistent with the conventions of the legal discipline and the high expectations of academic integrity.


    The topics covered in this course are: 

    1. An introduction to principles of healthcare law and ethics
    2. Autonomy, informed consent and the right to refuse treatment
    3. Medical negligence and patient safety
    4. Mental health laws
    5. Healthcare decisions for children and young people
    6. Pregnancy and the law; including reproductive technologies, access to abortion care and refusal of treatment during pregnancy
    7. Health care information
    8. Genetics and research involving human participants
    9. Global health and pandemics
    10. End of life care and the right to dignity in death


    This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.

    Assumed knowledge

    LAWS1010, LAWS1011, LAWS1020, LAWS1021, LAWS2030, LAWS3040, LAWS3041, LAWS4001

    Assessment items

    Written Assignment: Written Assignment

    Online Learning Activity: Learning Reflections

    Participation: Participation

    Project: Multimedia Project

    Contact hours

    Newcastle City Precinct


    Online 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

    The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.